The Corneal Cross-Linking procedure uses UV light combined with a Vitamin B2 solution that results in a photochemical reaction that creates new stable bridges between the cornea collagen fibers resulting in a stronger cornea. The entire procedure will take around 45 minutes to complete. A contact lens is then placed on the eye to protect the cornea. This is usually removed the following day. Your vision in the treated eye could be blurry after the treatment and the full result may not be reached for up to six months. In some cases, a more stable cornea will allow the patient to have one of the different types of refractive surgery that can eliminate or reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses. However, it is important to know that the main goal for most patients is to stop or slow changes in the vision and to increase the stability of the cornea. Corneal Cross Linking will not eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses.

corneal cross linking


How many appointments do I need if I have corneal cross linking?

Postop visits are usually scheduled at one day post op, one week, one month, three months and six months. These visits are included in the fee.

Who is eligible for Corneal Cross Linking

The independent eye doctors at ICON LASIK are currently treating patients 12 years old and older who show indications for Corneal Cross Linking.

There are risks with corneal cross linking. Corneal cross linking is a surgery and there are risks with any surgery. Your surgeon will discuss those risks with you in detail before your surgery.

CXL Therapy to Strengthen the Cornea

Corneal cross linking (CXL) is a procedure used in the treatment of corneas that display a weakness or a compromise in their structural integrity. Keratoconus, Pellucid Marginal Degeneration, and Corneal Ectasia are a few of the eye conditions that may benefit from cross linking therapy. CXL has grown in popularity in recent times as it is a minimally invasive procedure. The purpose of the treatment would be to slow and possibly halt the progression of the aforementioned conditions. It may even avoid the need for a corneal transplant and allow patients to use glasses or contact lenses once again.

Corneal collagen cross linking therapy

The cornea is the outermost clear portion of the front of the eye. It is composed of different types of tissue which allows it to maintain its shape and fulfill its function. One of the essential components of the cornea is collagen. Normally there are cross-links between the collagen fibers which are responsible for the structural integrity of the cornea. These links allows the cornea to bulge outwards but only to a degree that allows for optimal vision.

Cross linking is used to treat keratoconus

Keratoconus is a progressive condition where the cornea, begins to thin and protrude abnormally. The cornea is normally dome-shaped, but in keratoconus, it protrudes outward to a much greater degree. The cornea is responsible for allowing light to enter the deeper structures of the eye and plays an important role in focusing light. As a result of keratoconus, light is not bent and focused in a way that allows for clear vision. This abnormality arises as a result of fewer and weaker collagen cross-links.

The treatment options for keratoconus vary from contact lenses or eyeglasses for milder cases to surgery in more severe cases. The traditional surgical treatment for keratoconus involves the insertion of plastic rings within the cornea to flatten it, or a transplant to replace the cornea. Cross linking treatment for keratoconus works by restoring some of the cross-links between the collagen fibers. It strengthens the cornea to prevent further thinning and bulging.

Corneal collagen cross linking treats keratoconus at the root of the problem. By applying riboflavin drops to the eye followed by UVA (ultraviolet A) light exposure, the cross linking abnormality in keratoconus can be strengthened. Riboflavin is a type of vitamin B2 that is a normal part of the human diet. When applied as drops and then exposed to UVA light, it reacts in a way that leads to the formation of new cross-links between the collagen fibers in the cornea.

History and limits of corneal cross linking

The CXL procedure is only suitable for keratoconus patients over 12 years of age. It was first performed in 1998 and is now widely practiced as a form of keratoconus treatment across the globe. The treatment is so popular and effective that it is routinely offered as a part of medical tourism services. CXL is also considered safer than having a corneal transplant as it less invasive and there is no risk of a rejection of a transplanted cornea.

Keratoconus cross linking FDA Approval

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes cross linking as a possible keratoconus treatment. Studies across the globe have validated the procedure for the treatment of keratoconus. However, the FDA has not as yet approved the procedure specifically for treating keratoconus in the United States. It is not banned though and is done in many centers across the US. Outside of the USA, cross linking is recognized and approved by regulatory authorities as a treatment for keratoconus.

Corneal cross linking is still in the testing phase in the United States. It does not have full FDA approval but can be conducted at approved centers as part of the testing phase. The first study on CXL was rejected due to flaws but a new study was then commenced. The FDA is trying to establish the long term effects by using CXL for keratoconus treatment. Based on the progress of the study thus far, it is believed that FDA approval may be 1 to 2 years away.

How to Pronounce Keratoconus

Keratoconus is an eye disease that impacts the very structure of the cornea. In this video we pronounce it for you. Feeling comfortable with the medical terms is important so that you can start to have an intelligent discussion with your doctor.

Cost of crosslinking

The cost of the corneal cross linking procedure at approved centers in the United States varies greatly. Unfortunately, health insurance does not cover the cost of the procedure as it is still in the testing phase and pending FDA approval. However, most centers now offer financing options for keratoconus patients to afford the procedure. The cost of cross linking should be viewed in light of the convenience, benefits, and minimal complications as compared to other keratoconus treatments.