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Corneal Cross Linking (CXL)

What Is Corneal Cross Linking (CXL)?

Corneal cross linking (CXL) is a non-invasive procedure that acts to slow or halt the progression of keratoconus. Corneal collagen cross-linking may help preserve vision and halt the progress of keratoconus in the early stages. While the treatment will not correct vision or eliminate the need for glasses and/or contact lenses, it can help maintain the current vision and prevent the conditioning from worsening.

What do I expect from CXL?

A sterile riboflavin solution will be applied to the cornea for 30 minutes. The riboflavin drops are then allowed to saturate the cornea for another 30 minutes while being exposed to a careful dose of ultraviolet (UVA) light. The UVA light causes a chemical reaction with the riboflavin that create bonds to form in the collagen within the cornea to make it more resistant. Antibiotic eye drops or ointment are then applied to the eye. Some doctors will instill a bandage contact lens until the epithelial cells grow back, which may take 2-4 days. The procedure attempts to make the cornea stronger in hopes of preventing the condition from worsening and creating a spherical cornea.

A few days after undergoing corneal cross linking, you may have some mild corneal swelling. You may feel some minor irritation, burning or foreign body sensation until the cornea totally heals. Antibiotic drops are usually prescribed for a few days.

Over the next six months, Dr. Skouras will see you often to measure your vision (refraction) and perform measurements, such as corneal thickness measurements (pachymetry) or cornea mapping (corneal topography) until your cornea stabilizes.

Risks of CXL

Very few risks are associated with Corneal Cross Linking. Patients should expect some degree of light sensitivity and moderate discomfort as the cornea heals. There is a small risk of mild corneal haze  which can initially blur vision. However, this usually resolves itself in time.

 

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