About Corneal Cross-Linking
Solomon Eye Physicians & Surgeons is proud to offer a promising new long-term keratoconus treatment called corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) or UV riboflavin CXL. Keratoconus is a progressive corneal disease that weakens the cornea over time. The promising UV riboflavin CXL procedure strengthens the cornea by stimulating the growth of its internal collagen cross-links. Corneal cross-linking works via a combination of riboflavin (Vitamin B2) eye drops (Photrexa) and the application of UV light.
If you would like to learn more about UV riboflavin corneal cross-linking or think you might be a candidate, contact our Greenbelt or Bowie, MD office to schedule an exam and consultation.
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Keratoconus patients aged 14 years and up are the best candidates for CXL, though most ophthalmologists agree that the earlier the patient receives treatment the better. The younger the patient is when he or she receives cross-linking, the more progression of the disease they can potentially avoid. Dr. Solomon will also need to determine that you've had a documented progression of the disease over the past 1 – 1.5 years. Patients who have post–laser surgery ectasia (corneal thinning) can also be candidates for corneal cross-linking. During your evaluation at Solomon Eye Physicians & Surgeons, we will perform a thorough exam to determine if CXL is the best option for you.
What To Expect
The UV riboflavin CXL treatment is a painless, outpatient procedure. It begins with the administration of numbing eye drops. Next, Dr. Solomon carefully removes the epithelium cells from the surface of the cornea and applies the Photrexa (riboflavin eye drops). The eye drops are absorbed into the eye within 15 to 30 minutes, after which the eye is exposed to ultraviolet light. The light interacts with the riboflavin to produce special types of oxygen molecules that gradually lead to the formation of chemical bonds within the corneal collagen fibers. These chemical bonds make the collagen fibers stiffer and stronger.
Following CXL treatment, patients generally recover within 3 – 5 days, during which time the eye is protected with a bandage contact lens. We will prescribe anti-inflammatory eye drops that you will need to use for an extended period of time during the recovery.
Keratoconus relief after CXL is generally achieved within one week after the procedure, and the condition continues to improve for up to 12 months. Contact lenses may be worn within one month after CXL, and most patients will experience a frequent change in eyeglass prescriptions until the cornea becomes fully stable. CXL is the only treatment that can potentially halt the progression of keratoconus, and in some cases, restore lost vision. Patients who achieve optimal results after CXL may choose to further correct their vision with laser eye surgery, such as LASIK or PRK.
Plan Your Procedure
CXL, or corneal cross-linking, is a life-changing treatment that can not only protect and improve your vision but may also keep you from needing a corneal transplant later in life. Dr. Solomon has successfully performed CXL for numerous men and women throughout Maryland. If you have keratoconus or another corneal-thinning condition, contact Solomon Eye Physicians & Surgeons in Greenbelt or Bowie, MD.