Collagen Cross Linking
Collagen Cross Linking is the only treatment available that halts the progression of Keratoconus and partially reverses the corneal steepening caused by the disease. The treatment eliminates the need for a corneal graft and also can correct some of the patients’ prescription. It is non-invasive and no surgery is required, instead Riboflavin (Vitamin B12) drops are placed in the eye periodically under UV light.
The photopolymerisation process caused by the addition of Riboflavin under UV light leads to oxygen radicals enabling the development of strong collagen bonds. This technique strengthens the chemical bonds in the cornea which increases the thickness and stabilises the cornea, consequently stopping the progression of the disease.
To be suitable for Collagen Cross Linking, your Keratoconus must be progressive but not too advanced that a corneal graft is required and you must be over the age of 18. Suitability for treatment will be determined by our surgeon after comprehensive testing at your consultation.
- AVC has been performing Collagen Cross Linking treatment since 2007.
- Non-surgical procedure that is completely non-invasive.
- Treatment is internationally recognised and carried out in over 500 clinics globally.
- Will prevent the need for a corneal graft.
- Collagen Cross Linking stabilises the fibres within the cornea to strengthen its integrity and halt the progression of the disease.
- Treatment is only required once to cause a permanent change.
- The first ever patient was successfully treated in 1998.
Collagen Cross Linking: Treatment Process
Each eye is treated individually with a gap of a week. The treatment is non-invasive and takes approximately 60 minutes per eye.
- Anaesthetic drops are used to numb the eye.
- Eye lid guard used to prevent blinking.
- A weak alcohol solution is used to soften the upper epithelial cells which are then gently removed manually by our surgeon.
- A Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) solution is dropped into the surface of the eye.
- The eye is exposed to a small amount of UV light.
- The process of adding drops and exposure to UV light is repeated.
- A protective contact lens is placed in the eye until the first post-operative check.
- Our specialist nurse will go through the precautions and medications that are needed to aid your recovery.
- Your first post-operative check will take place 4 days after treatment.
On the day of treatment, you will be provided with an eye cover for the treated eye, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and hydrating drops. You will be advised when to take the drops. At the first post-operative check 4 to 5 days after treatment our surgeon will examine the treated eye and remove the protective lens.
The recovery period can take up to a week and some discomfort may be experienced for 2 to 3 days after treatment. Patients will suffer from dry eyes whilst the cornea heals. This is completely normal and is part of the natural healing process. Visual fluctuations can last between 1 to 3 months: once the prescription stabilises new glasses and contact lenses can be fitted. However, small fluctuations in vision can still occur up to six months after treatment. Patients are required to attend regular post-operative checks throughout the year. These can be conducted at our AVC clinic or at one of our optometrist network partners from 3 months onwards.
After treatment, you can return to normal life – however there are restrictions on certain activities and these will be discussed at your consultation. Patients can usually start driving once the prescription has stabilised and they have new glasses or contact lenses. If Kerasoft lenses are used the amount of time can be reduced to 5 to 10 days.