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(1st Sat. of Month ONLY)
January 24, 2014
By Eola Eyes, Doctors of Optometry
In keratoconus, the cornea, or clear, front surface of the eye, becomes progressively thin and irregular, causing blurred and distorted vision. This condition was long believed to impact about 1 in 2,000 Americans, but we now find that it may effect as many as 1 in 750. Corneal collagen crosslinking (CXL) was first used in 1998 to treat patients with keratoconus and it is now being performed at hundreds of clinics around the world, including right here in Orlando. Research studies have shown that CXL may prevent further vision loss in over 95% of patients and improves vision in 60-81% of patients treated, so we are excited to share information with you about this treatment option.
CXL is a treatment performed at a surgeon’s office that does not involve any surgical incisions into the eye or stitches. The eye is numbed with a topical eye drop, so there is no pain during the procedure. (So far, so good, right? No cutting, no pain!) CXL is performed by treating the cornea with vitamin eye drops (riboflavin) and a special ultraviolet light (much like what your dentist would use to cure or secure a crown to the tooth below); it is not LASIK or a laser surgery. The total treatment time is about one hour and most patients only need one treatment per eye.
The CXL treatment forms links between the collagen molecules that strengthen the cornea and halts the progression of keratoconus by making the cornea stronger. Eye doctors in the US and around the world largely believe this is a safe and effective procedure, though CXL is still considered investigational in the United States and, as of the time of posting, is not an FDA approved procedure. There are high hopes that FDA approval will come soon.
Right now, patients 12 years and older can have access to this advanced technology locally if they qualify to participate in a clinical trial here in Orlando. While we do not perform this procedure at Eola Eyes, we can discuss this treatment option with you and refer you to local ophthalmologist, Dr. Kelly Herschel, for further consultation if needed. We can also discuss other, non-surgical treatment options for keratoconus or other corneal conditions. Our doctors specialize in contact lens fitting for keratoconus patients and have a combined over 40 years experience in this area. We understand the unique needs of keratoconus patients and we encourage you to call us for an appointment at 407-447-7739.