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