Corneal cross-linking is a treatment for an eye disease called keratoconus. In this condition, the front part of your eye, called the cornea, thins out and gets weaker over time. This makes it bulge into a cone shape, which can distort your vision and make it hard to see both with and without glasses or contact lenses. In corneal cross-linking, eye doctors use eyedrop medication and ultraviolet (UV) light from a special machine to make the tissues in your cornea stronger. The goal is to keep the cornea from bulging more, and therefore slowing the progression of keratoconus. The treatment is called “cross-linking” because it adds bonds between the collagen fibers in your cornea. They work like support beams to stabilize the cornea. Corneal cross-linking is the only FDA-approved treatment that can stop progressive keratoconus from getting worse.
How To Prepare
The day of the procedure, don’t wear eye makeup, perfume, or after-shave. You’ll be able to eat a light meal and drink fluids beforehand, however, you should limit your caffeine intake. You’ll also need a driver to stay with you for the duration of your procedure, and drive you home since your eyesight will be affected. Before your treatment, you will be given an optional, low-dose oral sedative to help you relax. The treatment lasts one hour in duration. We encourage you to bring headphones so that you can listen to music or podcasts while you are comfortably reclined. You will be given post-operative instructions before you leave. It is important to follow these instructions very carefully and return for all follow-ups as directed.
What Happens Afterward?
After the procedure, here’s what you need to know to take care of your eyes:
- You may have discomfort for a few days. Your doctor will give you medication for discomfort if needed.
- Your doctor will put a bandage contact lens on your eye to help it heal. If it falls out, let your eye doctor know immediately. Do not try to put it back in.
- It’s important to not rub your eyes for 7 days after the procedure.
- You may have watery eyes and sensitivity to light. Sunglasses can help.
- You may feel like you have something in your eye at first. Artificial tears can help.
- If you have severe pain or a sudden worsening of your eyesight, let your doctor know right away.
Your Vision After Corneal Cross-Linking
After a cross-linking procedure, your eyesight will be blurry at first. You may notice fluctuations in your vision from time to time during the healing process, this is to be expected. You may be more sensitive to light and have poorer vision for about 1-3 months after the surgery. The goal of corneal cross-linking is to slow the progression of your keratoconus and prevent future problems. It is not to reduce the dependence on your glasses and contacts. In some cases, your eyesight may get better over time. Once you’ve healed from corneal cross-linking, you will likely need to be prescribed new glasses or contacts by your optometrist.
Step 1: Consultation
Meet with our experienced team and see what treatment option is right for you. Consultations last about an hour and a half. Your eyes will be dilated. Bring your sunglasses! Contacts must be removed 3 full days before your appointment.
Step 2: Treatment
Our friendly staff and experienced doctors help you through your treatment. Expect to be in the surgical center for around one hour on treatment day. You will need a driver to stay with you for the duration of your procedure.
Step 3: Enjoy Freedom!
Return to our office for a few follow-up visits and enjoy life without the burden of glasses or contacts. Follow-up schedules vary depending on the procedure type, but in general, you can expect to be seen in-office 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months after your treatment.
Step 4. Lifetime Guarantee
Select services come with a lifetime guarantee. In the rare occurrence that you need an adjustment, we provide free vision enhancements for life.*