Cross-linking Effectively Treats Keratoconus

Cross-linking is a therapeutic keratoconus treatment. Did you know that keratoconus is a sight-threatening eye condition that affects approximately one in every 2,000 Americans? That is approximately 170,000 people in the United States. Keratoconus is a degenerative disease that causes progressive thinning and distortion of the cornea. The condition can result in myopia, or nearsightedness, astigmatism and even blindness.

The keratoconus treatment, cross-linking, aims to halt the progress of keratoconus by strengthening chemical bonds in the cornea, which can avert the need for a corneal transplant. Cross-linking is a revolutionary treatment that reduces the blurred and distorted vision caused by keratoconus that is difficult to correct with lenses.

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Keratoconus Treatment: Cross-linking

Cross-linking attempts to reduce the progression of keratoconus or corneal ectasia by strengthening the collagen bonds inside the cornea. During the treatment, patients receive drops of riboflavin (vitamin B2) ophthalmic solution, a micronutrient that promotes collagen strengthening. This collagen strengthening component is then activated through the use of ultraviolet light therapy.

The result is a stronger corneal structure that gives the cornea greater ability to withstand the degeneration that occurs in diseases such as keratoconus.

Cross-linking FDA Approved

Kugler Vision in Omaha, NE was a principal investigator in the clinical trials conducted for corneal cross-linking. On November 7, 2012, Kugler Vision became the first institution in Nebraska to perform the corneal cross-linking procedure, a revolutionary keratoconus treatment. 

In April 2016, the FDA approved a riboflavin ophthalmic solution (Photrexa, Avedro, Waltham, MA) that treats progressive keratoconus with corneal collagen cross-linking. Cross-linking technology was already available in Asia and Europe before the United States approval.

“Cross-linking is a breakthrough treatment that significantly reduces the chances of needing a corneal transplant for patients with this disease.”

–  Lance Kugler, MD