Keratoconus is a non-inflammatory eye condition in which the usually round, domed clear window of the eye called the cornea becomes progressively thinner. This causes it to bulge outwards, changing the way that light passes through the eye and impairing the patient’s ability to focus properly. Keratoconus doesn’t usually lead to total blindness but left to progress, it can compromise vision enough to affect the patient’s quality of life. For this reason, prompt treatment is recommended in virtually all cases of the condition.
There is one treatment that is considered more successful than any other and this is known as collagen cross-linking. We are the #1 provider for cross-linking for stopping the progression of keratoconus in CA. Here’s what you need to know about keratoconus and how cross-linking can halt its progression and enable you to enjoy a clear, concise vision.
Keratoconus can be caused by a variety of different factors, with some of the most common including:
Your genes: keratoconus can be inherited from your parents
Trauma to the eyes: such as an injury or repetitive and aggressive rubbing
Eye diseases: including retinitis pigmentosa and vernal keratoconjunctivitis
Other diseases: such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Down syndrome
Keratoconus is usually detected by your eye doctor at one of your comprehensive eye exams.
Collagen cross-linking (CXL) is proven to be the only successful technique for halting the progression of keratoconus. It has been shown to be successful in around 90% of cases.
Keratoconus occurs when the fibers of the cornea weaken, allowing it to bulge outwards. Collagen cross-linking focuses on strengthening these fibers and stiffening them so that the cornea is held in position and can no longer bulge outwards. It does this through a combination of eyedrop medication and UV light. These work in a number of ways, firstly by hardening the fibers so that they are stronger and less able to bulge, and by adding bonds between them – cross-linking them so that form a strong, stable structure that helps the cornea to retain a regular dome shape.
Cross-linking can be performed in your eye doctor's office and is usually carried out using local anesthetic. Some patients may also like to be sedated if they are particularly nervous or anxious about the procedure. Once you are anesthetized, your eye doctor will apply the eyedrops which soak into your cornea and enable it to absorb light more effectively. These eye drops should take around half an hour to be effective, after which time you will be asked to lie back in the chair and look up into the light. This light will create bonds and harden the fibers that stop the progression of keratoconus.
The entire procedure should take less than two hours, and you will be able to go home the same day. It is normal for your eyes to be a little uncomfortable for a few days following your cross-linking procedure, and this should be controlled using over the counter pain medications. Your eye doctor will also place a clear contact lens into your eye to cover your cornea while it heals. This works in much the same way as a bandage and it is important to leave the lens in place and not to rub or irritate your eye in any way. Your surgeon will give you specific advice regarding how to care for your eyes while they heal.
It’s normal for your vision to be a little blurred after a cross-linking procedure. Your vision may also change during the healing process, not necessarily for the better. However, once the majority of healing has taken place, although you may still need to wear glasses or contact lenses, your vision should be clear. Your vision will be checked by your eye doctor around a week after your procedure to determine if it is clear enough for you to resume driving and many other activities.
If you are concerned about keratoconus and would like more information about the condition or highly successful cross-linking treatment – of which we are the number one provider in California, please don’t hesitate to give our knowledgeable and dedicated team in Sacramento, CA and Lincoln, CA a call.