New technology combats the worsening of corneal ectasia, a UK first for Spire Dunedin Hospital

23 July 2013

Consultant Ophthalmologist and Corneal Specialist, Mr Martin Leyland performed the first iontophoretic, trans-epithelial, accelerated corneal collagen cross-linking with riboflavin (CXL-R) procedure in the United Kingdom at Spire Dunedin Hospital in Reading at the end of June. 

This newly developed technology combats the degeneration of a condition known as corneal ectasia which is a progressive thinning and protrusion of the cornea, resulting in blurred vision due to a combination of short-sightedness and irregular astigmatism that cannot be corrected by use of glasses. It is most commonly seen in keratoconus, but may also follow on as a late complication of laser refractive surgery (LASIK). Corneal collagen cross-linking with riboflavin (CXL-R) accelerates the formation of naturally-occurring bonds within the corneal tissue, making the cornea stiffer and preventing worsening of the condition.

CXL-R was developed by Professor Theo Seiler in Dresden, Germany, in 2005. The original method of treatment requires removal of the corneal epithelium to allow the riboflavin to penetrate the cornea meaning the treated eye would be painful for 24-48 hours after, with a risk of infection. The newly developed technology uses iontophoresis to allow the riboflavin to penetrate across an intact corneal epithelium; the procedure is painless and the recovery much more comfortable. In addition, a higher power ultraviolet light source has been developed which reduces the treatment time by two thirds.

The procedure took just 25 minutes and the patient Mr Rochester confirmed that it was painless. The eye became uncomfortable later in the day due to the effects of the treatment, but was back to normal the following morning.  Mr Rochester commented: “it is great to be able to do something to stop keratoconus getting worse, instead of just watching the vision get progressively worse”.

Margaret da Costa, Hospital Director, says; “This demonstrates that Spire Dunedin Hospital is at the cutting edge of delivering new ophthalmic technology.  We are delighted that Mr Leyland is able to offer this latest development to preventing worsening of corneal ectasia”.

To find out more about the new treatment, call the hospital today on 0118 955 3413.

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Mr Martin Leyland and the new technology.


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