Corneal Cross-Linking, an Innovative Treatment for Keratoconus

May 11th, 2021

Laser procedures such as LASIK and PRK that treat refractive errors are overwhelmingly safe and generate a positive outcome. However, in a fraction of cases, some people develop a condition called corneal ectasia, which thins the cornea and causes problems with your vision. Keratoconus is the most common form of ectasia, and Swagel Wootton Eye Institute is a premier provider of innovative keratoconus treatment in Phoenix.

What is Keratoconus?

You may have already undergone photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) or Laser-Assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery to improve your nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. In rare cases, you can develop a severe condition called corneal ectasia that can permanently affect your vision if not treated promptly. It causes your cornea to thin and bulge, which negatively affects your vision.

Why Do People Get Keratoconus?

If you develop corneal ectasia, the PRK or LASIK process removed too much corneal tissue, triggering a new kind of astigmatism. Following the surgery, the cornea becomes weaker and thinner over time. Eventually, it cannot with stand normal eye pressure and begins to bulge out into a conical shape.

Keratoconus is the most typical kind of corneal ectasia. Corneal collagen fibers weaken, causing your cornea to lose shape and structure and worsening vision. Sometimes, you can also get corneal ectasia from wearing contact lenses that are too soft or too rigid.

With the proper precautions, you can avoid most cases of keratoconus. For example, Swagel Wootton specializes in cataract and LASIK surgery in the greater Phoenix area. Coming to our center for a consultation gives you the information you need to make an informed decision about LASIK surgery, including whether you’re a good candidate. Similarly, our board-certified eye care experts in Mesa and Chandler perform a thorough exam prior to fitting you with contacts that fit well, without being too soft or right.

Symptoms of Keratoconus

If you have keratoconus, you may not be able to see clearly even with glasses or contacts on. Some clients report shadow figures caused by refraction errors. If you experience abnormal vision following LASIK or PRK surgery, you may need keratoconus treatment in Phoenix.

Corneal Cross-Linking

Corneal cross-linking, also called CXL, can stabilize the cornea using eye drops, UV light and abrading the outer layer of the cornea. There are two major types of corneal cross-linking procedures, as follows:

  • Epithelium-off cross-linking. During this process, your eye doctor removes the outer layer of your cornea so that liquid riboflavin can penetrate deep within the tissue.
  • Epithelium-on cross-linking. During this procedure, the doctor does not remove the outer layer of the cornea, making this the less invasive option.

So far, the FDA has only approved the Epithelium-off corneal cross-linking. This keratoconus treatment in Phoenix takes between one and two hours to complete.

After the procedure, your surgeon will place a bandage contact over the treatment area to facilitate healing. you may also receive anti-inflammatory eye drops and topical antibiotics to help you remain comfortable and prevent infection.

Epi-off corneal cross-linking has led to stabilization for most clients receiving this keratoconus treatment in Phoenix. It’s Important to consult with eye care experts in Mesa and Chandler, such as those at Swagel Wootton Eye Institute, to pursue treatment before ectasia permanently damages your vision.

Swagel Wootton specializes in cataract and LASIK surgery in greater Mesa and Chandler and can handle all your vision needs.


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