Spire Roding consultant ophthalmologist Mr Dipak Parmar and a team of doctors at Whipps Cross Hospital are the first in the NHS to perform a pioneering procedure for the visually impaired.
Corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) was performed on six patients with Keratoconus on 30 July 2014.
But what is keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a condition that causes the cornea, the transparent front part of the eye to weaken, get thinner and change shape. It affects about one in 2,000 people. The exact cause of the condition is unknown. It's possibly passed down through the family.
Keratoconus is one of the most common reasons for corneal transplantation in younger patients. It doesn’t usually appear until the early teens, but can occur earlier in a few patients. Many cases of keratoconus are mild and can be managed by using contact lenses or glasses. But in some patients it can progress to the point where a corneal transplant is necessary.
Corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) is currently the best available treatment for keratoconus. This technique uses ultraviolet (UV) light and a photosensitizer (riboflavin) to strengthen chemical bonds in the cornea. It was first developed in Germany in 1998 and clinical trials have been in course since then.
CXL consists of UV light and vitamin B2 (riboflavin) drops. Used together they cause fibers within the cornea to bond more tightly (‘cross-links’). This treatment mimics the normal age-related stiffening of the cornea.