Corneal Cross-Linking Treatment in Derry, NH & Surrounding Areas
Professional Routine & Medical Eye Care Specialists
Spindel Eye Associates provides patients in Derry, Windham, Londonderry, and Raymond with premier corneal cross-linking. In addition to corneal cross-linking, we offer a wide range of other routine and medical eye care services. Keep reading to learn more about corneal cross-linking.
What Is Corneal Cross-Linking?
Corneal cross-linking is a surgical procedure performed to treat a cornea that has become weakened or warped. The corneal cross-linking procedure involves “cross-linking” new collagen fibers to strengthen and reinforce the weakened or warped cornea.
Who Might Benefit From Corneal Cross-Linking?
Most commonly, corneal cross-linking is used to treat keratoconus. This eye problem causes the cornea to thin and change shape over time. The cornea is usually rounded, but keratoconus causes it to bulge outward and become cone-shaped, which results in blurry vision and various other symptoms. Glasses or contact lenses cannot effectively treat one’s keratoconus, as they only aim to correct the vision effect of the disease often unsuccessfully. Corneal cross-linking aim to halt the progressive nature of the condition so patients are not at risk of permanent vision loss from corneal scarring if Keratoconus continues to progresses. Cross-linking can’t reverse the corneal changes that have occurred, but it can prevent the condition from progressing and worsening. Your eye doctor can let you know if this is a treatment option for you.
What Is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is an eye condition that causes the cornea to thin and become cone-shaped over time. This eye condition can cause light rays to become out of focus, resulting in blurry and distorted vision. Usually, keratoconus affects both eyes, but it can sometimes affect one eye more than the other. It is most often seen in people in their late teens to early 30s. This age group is the at most risk as the condition usually slows down after age 30 although some patients continue to progress even after age 30.
The Signs & Symptoms of Keratoconus
It’s not unusual for patients to be unaware they have keratoconus. Symptoms of this eye condition can change as it progresses. The earliest symptom of keratoconus is usually a slight blurring of vision or progressively worsening vision that isn’t easily corrected. The signs and symptoms of keratoconus include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Sudden worsening or clouding of vision
- Blurred or distorted vision that is not easily corrected with eye glasses or soft contact lenses.
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Glare and halos around lights
- Increased sensitivity to bright light
- Frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions
- Continuous eye rubbing
Who Is Affected by Keratoconus?
The causes of keratoconus are unknown. Some genetic and environmental factors are thought to be involved. One in every 10 people with keratoconus is expected to have a parent with the condition. Genetics is known to play a significant part in those who develop keratoconus.
The Risk Factors of Keratoconus
Several factors are known to increase one’s chances of developing keratoconus. The risk factors of keratoconus include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Having a family history of keratoconus
- Chronic eye inflammation
- Rubbing your eyes vigorously
- Certain conditions, such as retinitis pigmentosa, Down syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Marfan syndrome, hay fever, and asthma
- Age – this condition is often discovered during the teenage years with proper screening although it can be frequently missed.
Does Cross-Linking Surgery Cure Keratoconus?
Corneal cross-linking, does not cure keratoconus, but it can help prevent the condition from worsening and potentially prevent needing corneal transplant surgery.
What Happens During Corneal Cross-Linking?
Before the procedure begins, your eye doctor will administer mild sedation and apply numbing anesthetic drops to your eyes. Typically, patients don’t experience much, if any, discomfort during the procedure. After the procedure, some patients may experience light sensitivity and mild discomfort. The doctor then proceeds by removing the outermost layer of the cornea (epithelium). This step is painless and very quick. This is followed by administration of specially made eye drops (Riboflavin-Vitamin B2) every 2 minutes for 30 minutes. The final step is the patient looking at a lamp emitting UV light for another 30 minutes while continuing to administer the Riboflavin drops every 2 minutes. The ultraviolet light interacts with the Riboflavin drops to to make the collagen bundles in the cornea stiffer; allowing the cornea to become stronger and stop protruding. The whole procedure takes approximately 90 minutes and is done in an office setting.
Preparing for Corneal Cross-Linking Surgery
When it comes to corneal cross-linking surgery, there are several steps you can take to best prepare. The best ways to prepare for corneal cross-linking surgery include but are not limited to, the following. On the day of their procedure, patients should:
- Not wear any makeup, perfume, or body spray
- Consume only a light meal and fluids
- Ensure no vacations with flying or swimming are scheduled for the following month
- Arrange for someone to take them home after their procedure is completed
Recovery After Corneal Cross Linking
After your corneal cross-linking procedure, you may experience mild discomfort for several days. It’s also possible for your vision to become blurry during this time. Your eye doctor will place a contact lens in your eye to help it heal over the next several days. This contact lens will stay in your eye and will be removed by the doctor at your post week 1 visit. You will be prescribed an antibiotic and a steroid drops to use for 1 week. You will be instructed to not rub your eyes ; if they are light-sensitive, we recommend wearing sunglasses. If you experience severe or worsening pain, please contact our office immediately.
Vision Rehabilitation After Cross Linking
After the cornea is stabilized with treatment, the next step is to improve the vision. Usually this can be successfully done with a hard contact lens. The hard contact lens pushes back the cornea to its natural position and can give the patient a better quality vision compared to glasses or soft contact lenses. The hard contact lens fitting will be done by our contact lens expert 3 months after the procedure.
Contact Us Today for Corneal Cross Linking
Spindel Eye Associates is dedicated to providing patients with premier eye care in Derry, Windham, Raymond & Londonderry, NH. Corneal cross-linking is safe but may only be suitable for some. During an initial consultation, we can determine if corneal cross-linking is right for you. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation with our highly-qualified team of eye doctors. We look forward to serving you.