Keratoconus is an eye problem that causes the cornea of the eye to thin and bulge over time. This is the result of a decreased amount of collagen fibre cross-link in the eye. Corneal cross-linking is a treatment for keratoconus that uses ultraviolet light together with vitamin B2, or riboflavin, eye drops to help strengthen the cornea of the eye.
Although the direct cause for keratoconus is unknown, eye specialists believe that the disease can be related to Down Syndrome, vigorous eye-rubbing and even asthma. Keratoconus is usually characterized by blurry or cloudy vision and light sensitivity, it also develops over a period of 10 years that begins between pre-teen and young adult years of life.
Keratoconus can severely impair vision as it develops. Lighter forms of the disease can be remedied with glasses and contact lenses, however, patients may need to have corneal transplants once the keratoconus worsens.
Corneal cross-linking can stop and even reverse the effects of keratoconus by strengthening the structural corneal collagen proteins associated with the disease. Although complications and infections may arise from the procedure, it is a minimally invasion option for patients suffering from keratoconus.
The corneal cross-linking process at Somerset Eye is an in-office procedure that takes place while the patient is under a mild sedative. During the procedure, an eye specialist will apply riboflavin, or vitamin B2, to the cornea. The riboflavin is then activated by ultraviolet light to strengthen the structural corneal collagen proteins in the eye. Essentially, new cross-links in the eye’s corneal collagen are created to strengthen the eye. In some procedures, the outer layer of the cornea may be removed before applying the riboflavin to the eye.
Corneal cross-linking is pain-free and will take about an hour to complete, afterwards, however, patients may experience some discomfort and light sensitivity.