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Corneal collagen cross-linking uses ultraviolet light and a photosensitizer to strengthen chemical bonds in the cornea.

Why you might need it

Kerataconus is a dystrophic disorder where structural changes occur within the cornea causing it to stretch and develop an abnormal thin and cone shape. It is diagnosed in the patient’s adolescent years and presents with blurred vision, ocular irritation and the need for increasingly strong glasses or contact lenses to see correctly.

If present in both eyes, the deterioration in vision can affect the patient’s ability to drive a car or read normal print.

You might experience the following symptoms:

  • Distorted vision that cannot be corrected with simple glasses.
  • Sensitivity to light or the need to ‘squint’ the eyelids closed to see clear detail.
  • Inability to have vision corrected with simple soft contact lenses, in some cases vision can only be corrected with rigid gas permeable contact lenses.
  • If present in both eyes, the deterioration in vision can affect the patient’s ability to drive a car or read normal print

Kerataconus can now be treated with a non-surgical procedure called cornea collagen cross-linking. The procedure can be performed under topical anaesthetic and takes approximately 30 minutes per eye.

No overnight stay is required. Once you’re ready to be discharged, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home because you won’t be able to drive. You should also ask them to help with shopping and cleaning for a few days, as your vision may take a while to return to normal.

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.

All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.

Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-speciality surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.

Before your treatment

You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

Please do not wear contact lenses for one week ahead of your procedure and be sure to remove any makeup and jewellery.

The procedure

Kerataconus can be treated with a non-surgical procedure called cornea collagen cross-linking. A solution called riboflavin is soaked in to the cornea of the eye after delicately removing the surface layer of cells, this solution is then activated by illumination with ultra violet light from a laser.

The riboflavin absorbs the UV energy and creates free radicals and oxidative stress that leads to the formation of chemical cross-links between the structural collagen fibres of the cornea.

These cross-links increase the strength of the cornea and prevent it from stretching anymore thereby halting the progression of keratoconus.

The procedure can be performed under topical anaesthetic and takes approximately 30 minutes.

Aftercare

Your vision will be blurred for the first 4 days, after which time the bandage contact lens will be removed. Moderate discomfort should be expected for the first 24-72 hours, which can be controlled by pain relief.

You may also suffer from red and watering eyes and light sensitivity.

You will be given a large amount of eye drops to take home which will aid your recovery.

Why choose Spire?

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

How much does it cost?

A fixed price for this treatment may be available on enquiry and following an initial consultation.

Price quoted is per eye. This procedure will be carried out by our LaserVision Scotland team at Shawfair Park Hospital.

You can have this treatment at:

Important to note

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.