Have you been informed that you have developed the disturbing eye condition called keratoconus? If so, there is no need to panic because a safe and non-invasive treatment called corneal cross linking (KXL) can be used to stop the thinning of the cornea and strengthen the corneal structure.
What Causes Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a fairly common eye condition that is caused by a weak and thin cornea. Every 1 in 750 North Americans can expect to experience the affects of this disease, which causes the cornea to become irregularly shaped (often bulging forward like a cone). The disease may cause astigmatism as a result of the strange cornea shape, and can interfere with a patient’s vision.
How Can KXL help?
Cross corneal linking can potentially stop keratoconus from progressing in most individuals. While its primary purpose is not to improve sight, it can correct the shape of the cornea and make it more stable, which may help to improve a patient’s focusing power as a result. A normal cornea contains many different cross-links that add support to its natural collagen fibers and help it to maintain a strong corneal structure and shape. However, patients who have keratoconus do not have enough cross-links in their corneas, and as a result their corneas are weak and prone to elongation, or outward bulging. KXL can help reverse the symptoms of this condition by adding cross-links to the cornea, which strengthens its structure and allows it to retain its shape more effectively.
KXL is a quick, in-office treatment and involves only two main steps:
- Specialized riboflavin eye drops are placed on the surface of the cornea and given time to penetrate the cornea.
- A specialized light activates the riboflavin drops so that they can go to work increasing the cross-links in the corneal structure and provide strength to the cornea while reducing corneal elongation due to keratoconus.
The entire procedure only takes about thirty minutes and can help to dramatically improve a patient’s sight when combined with vision correction procedures such as Intacs and PTK.
If you have been told that you have keratoconus and you don’t take steps to treat it, the disease will continue to progress and cause structural weakness in your eye. If you want to do everything you can to strengthen your corneal structure and improve your vision, talk to your eye doctor about cross corneal linking and vision correction procedures that will help to improve your eyesight and control the symptoms of the disease.