Shining a Light on Cornea Collagen Cross-Linking

When it comes to your vision, the cornea plays a critical role in your ability to see things clearly. Defined as the “windshield” to the eye, the cornea refracts and focuses light.  What most people don’t realize is that the shape of your cornea affects the overall ability for it to function. Even a slightly misshapen cornea can result in reduced eye sight.

In some cases individuals are bor­­n with a tendency for “weak” collagen in their corneas and as they get older their corneas start to warp or become misshapen.  This can happen as early as the teen years. Some individuals inadvertently induce these warped shapes by either rubbing their eyes too much (often due to severe allergies) or by receiving laser vision correction.  The end result is poor quality vision that is NOT correctable with glasses or soft contact lenses.  This is because patients have what is either called corneal ectasia or keratoconus.

In patients with an acceleration of keratoconus, their cornea warps even more quickly, resulting in a severe “cone” or even corneal scar when its inner layer breaks.  These patients may end up needing a corneal transplant at a very young age.  Because these disorders can affect young people, cornea surgeons were excited in 2013 when the FDA approved cornea collagen cross-linking which can help combat further degeneration of the cornea.

Cornea Collagen Cross-linking uses the vitamin Riboflavin in the form of eye drops to soak the cornea.  The riboflavin is then activated by the doctor who focuses a UV beam directly on the cornea.  This procedure, done in the doctor’s office, is the first treatment that may help to halt the progression of keratoconus and hopefully prevent corneal transplants in these patients.

To learn more about Cornea Collagen Cross-linking contact our office. We are one of the most trusted eye surgeons in New York. Call 516-785-3900 (Wantagh office) or 516-541-4141 (Massapequa office) to schedule an appointment.