Cross Linking Eye Surgery

Cross-linking eye surgery is a new development for the treatment of people who have keratoconus. Keratoconus is a condition whereby the cornea is too thin and weak to sustain a normal spherical shape. This is due to a combination of high pressure within the eye and a cornea that is overly thin. When the cornea is too thin it begins to form a conical shape, leading to short sightedness and even astigmatism. There are a number of ways of treating keratoconus, including rigid contact lenses, INTACS and corneal transplants.

The most recent type of keratoconus treatment is Cross Linking C3-R surgery.  This procedure involves strengthening the collagen connective tissue fibres in a non-invasive manner. By doing so, the ophthalmologist can prevent your cornea from bulging outwards, helping to restore your vision permanently.

How is Cross Linking surgery performed?

The operation itself is relatively quick and painless, usually being combined with other operations such as INTACS. It starts with the ophthalmologist putting some riboflavin drops in your eye. Riboflavin is a chemical that is present in many parts of the body. Once the riboflavin is absorbed into your cornea, the ophthalmologist will use a special type of light to shine onto the surface of your eye. This causes the collagen fibres to cross link, or join to each other, creating a much stronger cornea that will not bulge outwards. This whole procedure should take between 1 to 2 hours. 

How does Cross Linking work?

By preventing the cornea from bulging, the surgeon can correct your vision as images will now focus properly onto your retina. After the operation, a special type of contact lens will be put onto your eye for the first day to help the collagen link up and repair. Once the contact lens has been removed you will be given some antibiotic eye drops to help prevent your eye from becoming infected. Research has shown that cross linking surgery can be very useful in helping to improve the vision of patients who have undergone Radial Keratotomy. The results of this new treatment are so far known to be permanent.

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