What is collagen cross-link? Collagen cross-link is a new treatment for keratoconus, which uses a photosensitizing agent, riboflavin (vitamin B2) & ultraviolet light (UVA 365nm) exposure, Ultraviolet light is used to promote increased cross-linking between collagen fibers within the cornea. The 3 & 5 year results of Dresden clinical study in human eyes has shown arrest of progression of keratoconus in all treated eyes. (Wollensak G. Crosslinking treatment of progressive keratoconus: NEW Hope. Current Opinion in Ophthalmology 2006:17:356:360).
How is the treatment done? The treatment is performend under topical anesthesia. The skin (epithelium) of the surface of the cornea is partially scaratched, followed by application of Riboflavin eye drops for 30 minutes. The eye is then exposed to UVA light for 30 minutes. After the treatment, antibiotic ointment is applied and an eyepad is worn overlight until the next day when the surface of the eye has healed. Oral analgesics are required for the first 1-2 days.
IS ultraviolet light harmful? Ultraviolet A light used in this procedure is not harmful to the eye in measured doses. The light emitting diodes used in the 3C- R device is of a wavelength that is not harmful. Furthermore, light emission is carefully measured and calibrated prior to each treatment.
How often will need to be followed? You will be seen soon after the procedure to remove the contact lens and you will remain on eye drops for a few weeks. You will be seen at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and one year. Following this it is important that you be seen on an annual basis.
When can i wear contact lenses again? You may return to wearing lenses after one month. Your lenses may need to be changed if your cornea changes shape.
How long does it take for the procedure to work? Cross-linking takes as a result of exposure to Ultraviolet light. The cornea increases in rigidity soon after the procedure although the process of crosslinking continues on for a period of a few days afterwards. The effect on corneal shape takes longer but flattening does not occur in all eyes that had treatment. A satisfactory result will be arresting the process of keratoconus.
How is corneal collagen cross linking different from other treatments? Strengthening the cornea by cross- linking its building blocks (collagen) can arrest progression of keratocouns and has also been reported to partially reverse the corneal steeping that has already taken place. Other treatment options only address on visual rehabilitation not the actual causes of dieses.