What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition characterized by the thinning and bulging of the cornea, resulting in visual distortion and impaired vision. While the exact cause of keratoconus remains unknown, genetic and environmental factors are believed to play a role. Thankfully, advancements in ophthalmology have led to various treatment options, with corneal cross-linking emerging as a promising technique.
Keratoconus typically manifests during adolescence or early adulthood and gradually worsens over time. Common symptoms include blurred vision, increased sensitivity to light, frequent prescription changes, and distorted or ghosted images. As the cornea loses its structural integrity, patients may experience difficulties in performing daily tasks and may even require specialized contact lenses or corneal transplant surgery.
The Role of Cross-Linking in Keratoconus
Corneal cross-linking (CXL) has revolutionized the treatment of keratoconus by halting the progression of the disease. This minimally invasive procedure involves applying riboflavin (vitamin B2) drops to the cornea, followed by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. This combination promotes the formation of additional bonds within the cornea, strengthening its structure and stability.
Clinical Efficacy and Safety
Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of cross-linking in stabilizing keratoconus and preventing further corneal thinning. One study published in the Journal of Refractive Surgery found that CXL significantly improved visual acuity and corneal topography in patients with progressive keratoconus. Furthermore, long-term follow-ups have shown that the benefits of cross-linking persist over several years, ensuring the durability of the treatment.
Cross-Linking, an Important Treatment for those affected by Keratoconus
Keratoconus can pose significant challenges to those affected, impacting their quality of life and visual function. However, with the advent of corneal cross-linking, patients now have a viable treatment option to halt the progression of this debilitating condition. While further research is ongoing to optimize the procedure and expand its applications, cross-linking has already showcased its clinical efficacy and safety in numerous studies. With advancements in technology and medical expertise, we can anticipate brighter futures for those living with keratoconus.
Cross-Linking Evaluations at Charlotte Contact Lens Institute
At the Charlotte Contact Lens Institute, we closely monitor keratoconus with corneal tomography, utilizing state-of-the-art technology called the Pentacam AXL Wave. This device measures effects of keratoconus to the front and back surface of the cornea. It is important to monitor keratoconus with tomography (as opposed to topography), as tomography will provide the earliest detection of progression.
If you have any questions or would like to reach out to my practice about cross-linking evaluations, feel free to check out our website at charlottecontactlens.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Ariel Cerenzie
Visit the Charlotte Contact Lens Institute and meet with our specialist, Dr. Ariel Cerenzie, for a cross-linking consultation.
- Raiskup-Wolf F, et al. “Corneal Crosslinking with Riboflavin and Ultraviolet A: Long-term Results.” J Cataract Refract Surg. 2008;34(5):796-801.
- O’Brart DP, et al. “Corneal Cross-linking in Keratoconus: Ten-Year Follow-up.” Lancet. 2019;393(10175):51-60.
- Shetty R, et al. “Corneal Crosslinking in the Management of Keratoconus.” Indian J Ophthalmol. 2017;65(12):1072-1078.
- Vinciguerra P, et al. “Corneal Cross-linking as a Treatment for Keratoconus: Four-year Morphologic and Clinical Outcomes with Respect to Patient Age.” Ophthalmology. 2013;120(5):908-916.
- National Keratoconus Foundation. “Understanding Keratoconus: What is Keratoconus?” Available at: https://www.nkcf.org/about-keratoconus/understanding-keratoconus/. Accessed June 6, 2023.