Our team at The Eye Institute of Utah is excited to announce that we are now offering the long-awaited, FDA-approved Avedro corneal cross-linking treatment for patients with keratoconus and post-LASIK ectasia. For the last several years, corneal cross-linking has only been available in the U.S. through clinical trials, many of which have been offered with the cornea specialists here at The Eye Institute of Utah.
What is Keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease where the front surface of the eye called the cornea becomes thin, causing substantial visual distortion. The eye is normally shaped like a sphere, but with keratoconus, the eye bulges out into a cone-like shape. This may cause irregular astigmatism, progressive myopia, and sensitivity to light and glare. If left untreated, keratoconus may result in the need for cornea transplant surgery. Corneal cross-linking is considered one of the most effective treatments in slowing or halting the progression of keratoconus.
How Does the Cross-Linking Treatment Work?
Cross-linking is a minimally invasive treatment that is designed to strengthen the cornea for patients suffering from degenerative corneal diseases such as keratoconus and corneal ectasia. The cross-linking treatment utilizes controlled applications of ultraviolet light and riboflavin (vitamin B2) drops to rebuild collagen. By rebuilding new corneal-collagen bonds, the collagen fibrils become shorter and thicker which stiffens and strengthens the cornea.
The FDA-approved Avedro corneal cross-linking treatment is an “epithelium-off” treatment, which means the thin, outer layer of the cornea called the epithelium is removed prior to the treatment using a dilute chemical solution. Removing the epithelium allows the riboflavin liquid to more easily penetrate the corneal tissue.
Recovery After Cross-Linking Treatment
Prior to the treatment, patient’s eyes will be numbed and an oral sedative such as valium will be offered to help the patient relax. The in-office treatment takes approximately 60-90 minutes, and is performed one eye at a time. After the treatment, the doctor will place a contact lens on the eye to act as a bandage as the epithelium heals. Your vision will be very blurry for the first 5 days after the treatment, and you may experience pain, irritation and light sensitivity for the first 3-5 days. You will need to take at least 3-5 days off of work. New glasses or contact lenses are usually re-fit around 3 months after the treatment. Your doctor will prescribe some medicated eye drops that you will need to take for a period of weeks after the surgery to help with healing, comfort, and to prevent infection.
To learn more about corneal cross-linking or to schedule an examination with one of our cornea specialists, please call our office at 800-760-4171.