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8416 E. Shea Blvd.,
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
18275 N. 59th Avenue,
Glendale, Arizona 85308
Corneal cross-linking (CXL) is a treatment for keratoconus: a condition in which the cornea — normally round and dome-shaped — progressively thins and bulges, resembling a cone. Because the cornea is responsible for refracting light onto the retina, the quality of images produced by a weakened cornea is compromised.
Corneal cross-linking has been studied for the past 25 years and used widely throughout Europe and Asia. Corneal cross-linking strengthens the cornea through a combination of riboflavin drops and treatment with ultraviolet (UV) light. The procedure has been performed in Europe for the past six years with exciting outcomes — the success rate hovers around 98 percent.
Corneal cross-linking may be performed with the epithelium (thin layer covering the eye’s surface) on or off. Performing corneal cross-linking through the epithelium leads to a quicker recovery and reduced risk of scarring, infection and unwanted haze.
Suitable candidates for corneal cross-linking are between 10 and 35 years of age. In general, the earlier the treatment, the better the chance of correction is.
If you have noticed visual deterioration that is preventing you from completing daily tasks, contact the team at Schwartz Laser Eye Center for a consultation. Our team can examine your eyes, diagnose you and recommend the best treatment options.
In most cases, corneal cross-linking takes 30 minutes. First, our ophthalmologist will apply riboflavin eye drops on the cornea. Once the drops are absorbed by the cornea, our ophthalmologist applies UV light to the eye for approximately 30 minutes to activate the drops. The activated riboflavin drops increase the bonds between the collagen fibers, enhancing the rigidity and resistance of the cornea. The links between the collagen fibers prevent the cornea from bulging or becoming steep and distorted in shape.
After the application of the UV light, a bandage contact lens is placed, and topical antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops will be prescribed. If the epithelium has been removed, it will heal within about five days, after which the contact lens can be removed.
Corneal cross-linking is a safe procedure with a low complication rate. The UV light kills bacteria and parasites. The procedure may also reduce nearsightedness or astigmatism associated with keratoconus. In many cases, corneal cross-linking reduces the need for corneal transplant.
To learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of keratoconus, or to ask a question about corneal cross-linking, please contact the Scottsdale ophthalmologist and optometrist team at Schwartz Laser Eye Center, also serving the Glendale area. Call 480-483-EYES or send us an email today.