February 9, 2023
Keratoconus is an eye condition where the cornea becomes thin and weak over time, causing it to bulge. The cone shape can result in vision distortion, making it difficult to see. If the condition becomes severe, the patient will require a corneal transplant.
To stop the progression of keratoconus, eye doctors use corneal cross-linking. It is a procedure that can help treat a warped or weakened cornea.
Keratoconus causes the cornea to bulge into a cone shape as the collagen that holds the cornea becomes damaged. Corneal cross-linking is a treatment that helps strengthen the collagen fibers, reinforcing the cornea.
The new collagen fibers prevent the cornea from continuing to bulge out. The treatment involves the use of medication and ultraviolet light to strengthen the tissues in the cornea.
Cross-linking is an in-office procedure that usually takes 60 to 90 minutes. The doctor begins by applying drops in the eyes to numb them. Specially formulated vitamin B2 or riboflavin drops are put in the eye, allowing the cornea to absorb light more effectively. It takes approximately 30 minutes for the medication to soak into the cornea.
The patient will lie back in the chair, looking up at a UV light. The light helps activate the riboflavin, forming new bonds in the collagen fibers. The eyes will be numb during the procedure, making it pain-free.
Cornea cross-linking does not reverse existing cornea changes but stops them from worsening. If you have keratoconus, you should get treatment as soon as possible to slow its progression. The eye doctor will examine your eyes to determine whether the procedure is right for you.
Taking care of the eyes after cross-linking is essential for the best results. The doctor will provide post-op instructions after the procedure.
Medication will deal with the discomfort a few days after the treatment.
A contact lens is inserted in the eye to allow it to heal. If the lens falls out, it is vital to contact the doctor and avoid trying to put it back in.
Patients experience some sensitivity to light for several days. Wearing sunglasses will help. Some patients experience the sensation of something in the eye.
Patients must avoid rubbing their eyes for at least five days after the procedure.
You must contact the doctor immediately if you experience worsening eyesight or severe pain.
Avoid getting water in the eyes during the healing period.
Avoid eye makeup for several days after the treatment.
After the procedure, you may experience some blurry vision for several days. You will notice changes in your eyesight during the recovery period. Your vision may be worse for one to three months after the procedure.
The goal of the treatment is to slow keratoconus and prevent future eye problems. Your eyesight may improve over time. After the treatment, you may need new eyeglasses or contacts. Your doctor will tell you when it is safe to resume your regular duties.
For more on post-op instructions for patients after cross-linking, visit Modern iCare Optometry at our Palm Desert, California office. Call 760-674-7272 to schedule an appointment today.