Corneal Cross Linking (CXL) is a relatively new procedure designed to stop the progression of Keratoconus. Young patients should be treated as soon as they are diagnosed with Keratoconus. The earlier they are treated, the better the result. It consists of applying ultraviolet light to the cornea. The procedure takes a few minutes and is designed to strengthen the cornea so that the weak area in the cornea does not progress and cause more irregularity in the cornea. Corneal Cross Linking helps to stabilize the cornea and should be done on all keratoconic patients that are still progressing. Vision is best preserved if it is done at an earlier stage of Keratoconus.
What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a degenerative corneal disease that occurs when there is a structural weakness within the cornea causing it to become thin and irregular in shape. The irregular “cone-shaped” cornea is caused by normal pressure inside the eye pushing against the weak area of the cornea. This can cause substantial distortion of vision. Keratoconus typically begins during a person’s teens or early 20s with varying degrees of severity. It can progress rapidly or remain mild to moderate with very little progression. There is no way to predict how fast it will progress, however, by the mid 30s progression slows and often stops.In some cases, if the Keratoconus is stable and not severe it can be treated with an Intraocular Collamer Lens (ICL) inside the eye behind the irregular cornea. This can provide excellent vision, sometimes even better vision than the patient can get with a contact lens.