What is Corneal Cross-Linking and How Does it Help Eye Disease?

Ophthalmologist & LASIK Surgeon Serving Lombard, Naperville, Downers Grove & Nearby Chicago, IL

Posted: June 1, 2017

What is Corneal Cross-Linking and How Does it Help Eye Disease? Corneal cross-linking (CXL) strengthens the tissue holding your cornea together which may have weakened due to keratoconus. Keratoconus causes the circular nerve connected to your cornea to thin and deteriorate, leading to a cone-like bulge in the eye and distorted vision over time. This eye disease is degenerative, and it’s important to begin treatment as soon as possible. Corneal cross-linking essentially stops the deterioration caused by keratoconus, prevents the thinning and strengthens collagen fibers in your cornea through a quick, minimally invasive outpatient procedure.

How Does the Corneal Cross-Linking Procedure Work?

The CXL procedure begins with an initial exam to determine the thickness of your cornea. Our eye surgeon, Dr. Foulkes, will have you lay in a reclined position. He will then remove the surface layer of your eye (epithelium) and insert drops of riboflavin to strengthen the collagen fibers located in your cornea. Once the riboflavin drops have been administered, a UV light will shine on your eye for 30 minutes. The recovery process involves eye drops and strict adherence to our after-care instructions.

What is Keratoconus & How Does Corneal Cross-Linking Help?

Your cornea has a specific job to do, and that is to refract light which then allows you to see. Keratoconus is the weakening or thinning of the tissue that keeps your cornea held together, which leads to bulges and distortion on the corneal surface. The traditional treatment for keratoconus is Intacs® Corneal Implants, but corneal cross-linking offers a more manageable approach which allows you to keep your natural eye lens. The goal of CXL is to stop keratoconus in the first stages to prevent severe corneal deterioration.

Insurance providers do not cover corneal cross-linking, but we have financing options available at our Lombard and Chicago Foulkes Vision offices. To qualify for CXL, you must be over eight years old, have corneal ulcers or keratoconus and be in good health. If you’ve already suffered significant damage to your cornea, you may not qualify for this form of treatment.

If you have keratoconus, please contact our eye doctor in Lombard as soon as possible at 630-724-1400 to schedule your eye exam. Foulkes Vision serves clients in Lombard, Chicago and nearby Illinois areas.