Keratoconus is a degenerative condition where your cornea becomes thinner, and your vision starts to deteriorate. It is a condition that gradually gets worse over time, causing corneal problems to occur, which result in blurred vision.
Unfortunately, there is no cure, and you may require surgery in the form of corneal cross linking.
What happens when you get keratoconus?
Keratoconus eye disease occurs when your cornea begins to thin, forming a cone-shaped bulge, resulting in myopia, and in some cases, astigmatism. It is often quite challenging to correct with glasses, but contact lenses can help to an extent.
How do you get keratoconus?
The condition is considered to be genetic. If you suffer from several allergies, you may be more at risk of developing it. Keratoconus can start in the early years, so it most commonly affects children and young adults.
Is keratoconus serious?
Keratoconus eye can be serious if left untreated. This eye disease will cause loss of visual acuity, which can be classed as blindness in severe cases. However, corneal cross linking treatment can easily suspend the progression of keratoconus, preventing it developing into a more severe state.
Would I be suitable for Corneal Cross Linking?
If your scans come to reveal that your keratoconus is getting worse, or you are at high risk of it getting worse, then corneal cross linking will be recommended to you. Progression of keratoconus usually halts in your mid-30's, so it is not something that is generally required by older patients.
Can you tell me more about Corneal Cross Linking?
Corneal cross linking is currently the only treatment available to prevent the worsening of keratoconus.
Clinical trials have shown that a year after treatment, there has been success in halting the progression of keratoconus in more than 90% of treated eyes, with a further 45% recovering in corneal shape.
A similar study showed very similar patterns over a 5 year period. According to research, there is a visual improvement in about 50%. However, please be aware that you will need to wear contact lenses or glasses afterwards.
What is involved in the Corneal Cross Linking treatment?
This treatment is minimally invasive. We use a combination of Riboflavin (vitamin B) drops as well as ultraviolet light that is encouraged to react with the collagen fibres in your cornea. The idea is to strengthen them by creating several more cross links, and replicating the natural corneal stiffening that you would normally get as you grow older. With this, we aim to ensure that the progression of keratoconus is slowly halted as the cornea gets stronger.
This procedure is pain-free and whilst it will not reverse keratoconus, it will prevent the further decline of your vision.
Are there any risks associated with Corneal Cross Linking?
As we've always said, there is a risk with everything in life, but it's important to practice patience, because this will be vital in your eyes returning to normal. In very few cases, however, problems do occur - around 3% of patients will experience loss of vision due to constant haze, or infection, and many other complications. If there is visual loss, the option of a corneal transplant is there - without the option of corneal cross linking treatment, around a fifth of patients suffering with keratoconus will need a corneal transplant anyway.
Can you talk through recovery from Corneal Cross Linking treatment?
You will be in some discomfort for around 3-5 days, however this varies from patient to patient. Recovery is normally around one week, but again, this varies from patient to patient.
We recommend that you take at least one week off work to ensure proper recovery, however if complications occur, this could be longer. You will not be able to drive for a minimum of a week.
Please ensure that you take the proper time to rest after your surgery. If you have commitments, such as sports, speak to your doctor in regards to when you can continue with these.
Do you get aftercare with corneal cross linking treatment?
How much does corneal cross linking cost?
There are various payments methods and plans available if this would be more convenient for you. We offer consultations to determine your suitablitiy for Corneal Cross Linking treatment which are £50.