Corneal crosslinking sometimes referred to as CXL, is a treatment often used to strengthen the cornea of a person who has keratoconus. For many people, keratoconus causes blurry, distorted vision that interrupts their daily lives. Luckily, corneal crosslinking may be able to help!

What is Corneal Crosslinking?

Corneal cross-linking is an in-office procedure that helps to strengthen the structure of the collagen crosslinks in the cornea. Primarily a treatment used for those living with keratoconus, corneal crosslinking can be used for any disease that weakens the cornea. This minimally invasive procedure uses liquid riboflavin followed by ultraviolet light to eliminate corneal ectasia.
Corneal Crosslinking Diagram

The Procedure

Before you can be scheduled for your corneal crosslinking procedure, you will need to attend an initial consultation. During this visit, your cornea expert at the Atlantic Laser Eye Center will determine if you are a candidate for CXL. Your doctor will then perform a mapping of your eye as well as access your eye health and visual acuity.

At Atlantic Laser Eye Center, we use the Peschke CXL SYSTEM, which was designed with a special focus on effectiveness and safety. Using this device, our surgeons are able to fine-tune the procedure for each individual.

There are two types of corneal crosslinking available at Atlantic Laser Eye Center:

• Epithelium-off CXL. During the epithelium-off F, the thin layer of epithelial cells on the surface of the cornea will be removed. Once removed, the liquid riboflavin and controlled ultraviolet light are applied. This helps the liquid more easily penetrate the cornea.
• Epithelium-on CXL. During epithelium-on CXL, the epithelial layer will remain intact. The treatment time during epithelium-on CXL is longer as the liquid riboflavin cannot penetrate the cornea as easily.

Depending on the progression of your keratoconus and the health of your eye, your doctor will determine which procedure is best for you. The procedure will last around an hour to 90 minutes. If you are receiving epithelium-on CXL, you will simply lie in a reclining position and the riboflavin drops will be placed. The riboflavin has been absorbed by the cornea, the cornea is exposed to ultraviolet light for 10 to 30 minutes.

If you are receiving epithelium-off CXL your eyes will be numbed. Then, your surgeon will remove the epithelium using a “buffing” tool or an alcohol solution. The riboflavin drops are then placed. After the ultraviolet light treatment, a bandage contact lens will be placed over your eye. Topical antibiotics are usually prescribed.

Does it Work?

Studies show that both types of CXL are extremely effective. In fact, 99 percent of patients who receive CXL will achieve more stable corneas and an improvement in corneal shape. This is highly important for people with progressive keratoconus that could otherwise lead to severe vision loss.

If you would like to learn more about the corneal crosslinking procedure, be sure to contact us at Atlantic Laser Center for your consultation!