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What is Corneal Crosslinking?

Corneal crosslinking is a treatment for keratoconus, an eye condition wherein the cornea weakens and bulges forward in a cone-like shape, leading to poor vision. The corneal crosslinking in Worcester procedure involves administering an FDA approved eyedrop medication and channeling ultraviolet light via a special FDA approved device to strengthen the collagen tissues in the cornea.  This procedure strenghtens corneal tissue to mainstain stability and slows or prevents keratoconus from worsening. This procedure doesn’t reverse the prior effects of keratoconus, but it may prevent or slow the progression of your vision loss from keratoconus.

Diagnostic Tests
& Screening

Medical Surgical Eye Institute performs thorough evaluations to diagnose keratoconus at the earliest stage possible. Genes are the primary risk factors for keratoconus — if your parents have this condition, you must opt for eye exams every year. The eye doctor will measure the shape of your cornea using different techniques, such as corneal topography and optical coherence tomography.  After a thorough evaluation, the eye doctor will determine if you have keratoconus and formulate a personalized treatment plan.  The optimal time of treatment is prior to loss of vision.

When is Corneal Crosslinking Performed?

Corneal crosslinking in Worcester is performed when an individual is diagnosed with keratoconus. The collagen fibers in normal corneas have crosslink bonds that maintain optimal shape and structure, acting as structural beams to hold the cornea in place, i.e., round and stable. Keratoconus is a condition wherein the crosslinks between the collagen fibers weaken, allowing the cornea to bulge outwards in a wavy or irregular shape.

Corneal changes can make it hard for you to focus without contact lenses or glasses. As the cornea’s shape changes from a round ball to a cone, the smooth surface of the cornea becomes wavy, leading to astigmatism. If the front of the cornea expands, you may suffer from nearsightedness or myopia. You may also experience double vision, blurry vision, light streaks in your vision, and other problems.

The following signs and symptoms indicate you may need corneal crosslinking:

  • Astigmatism — blurry vision at all distances
  • Myopia — objects far from you appear blurry
  • Double vision from one eye
  • Bright lights seem to have halos
  • Light streaks in your field of vision

Your Corneal
Crosslinking Experience

Corneal crosslinking in Worcester is performed as an outpatient procedure in our eye care center. The eye doctor will administer a few numbing eye drops and a mild sedative to ensure comfort. You have to lie flat on your back on a reclining chair and look up at a blue light. The eye doctor will carefully remove the protective tissue covering the cornea, known as the epithelium.  A specially trained technician will administer specialized FDA approved eye drops (Photrexa/Photrexa Viscous) over a 20-40 minute process. Using the only FDA approved device, the KXL system, a beam of ultraviolet light will be focused on to your cornea to strengthen the crosslinks between the collagen fibers.

woman during exam for corneal crosslinking in Worcester
woman during exam for corneal crosslinking in Worcester

Recovery After
Corneal Crosslinking

You may experience mild to moderate discomfort, and your vision will be more blurry for a time period after treatment. You might also notice changes in your vision during the recovery period. You can expect poor vision for 1 to 3 months after the treatment, and you may also notice some light sensitivity. These side effects usually last for several weeks, following which your vision stabilizes. The primary goal of corneal crosslinking in Worcester is to prevent or slow down the progression of keratoconus and further deterioration of vision from keratoconus. Early treatment may decrease or extend the time period before an individual may need corneal transplantation in the future. Crosslinking does not reverse damage already caused by keratoconus.  You will still need glasses or contacts to optimally correct your vision.

Schedule an Appointment

Medical Surgical Eye Institute is a premier eye care center specializing in cutting-edge diagnostic tests that identify and treat eye conditions at the earliest stage possible. Keratoconus is a progressive condition that can severely damage your vision, eventually necessitating complex surgical intervention. Our eye doctors perform regular tests to identify this condition at the earliest stage possible and prevent it from progressing further. If you notice the signs and symptoms of keratoconus, please schedule an appointment today.

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Contact Us (508) 853-2020