Unfortunately one in every thousand people suffers from Keratoconus, a progressive degenerative eye disorder which results in the cornea thinning out into a curve instead of its original cone shape. However, now a successful brand new system called cross-linking helps keratoconus by halting the regression of the disorder.
Affecting the patients vision, symptoms typically show themselves by sensitivity to light, seeing multiple images, and blurring or streaking of the eyesight. As it is often diagnosed in the earlier years of life, usually during eye examinations, it unfortunately, until now, gradually but progressively worsens with each passing decade.
If it affects both eyes then this can have a serious effect on the quality for the sufferers life having adverse outcome such as the ability to drive or read. In most of the cases, especially if the patient only has the condition in one eye, contact lenses, or corneal ring segments are sufficient enough to address the problem short term, although if the condition becomes worse than surgery will be the only option.
Now for the first time ever there is hope in the form of Corneal Collagen Cross-linking which slows and even halts the progression of this disabling condition.
The procedure itself is quick and simple. It uses a special light known as UVA which reacts with a solution of Riboflavin to produce new stronger collagen strands in the stroma. A topical anaesthetic is enough to carry out the operation in about an hour. The solution of Riboflavin is dropped into the eyeball after the cornea has been gently scratched to allow faster absorption. The UVA light is then shone directly into the eye which begins the process. It is reported to be painless although there is the same sensation as having a foreign body inside the eye and the eyeball itself can become a little red and sore.
After antibiotic ointment is applied the corneal surface heals very quickly. The patient needs to wear an eye pad overnight but any mild discomfort only lasts for 1-2 days and can be managed easily by over the counter pain relief.
Studies have all shown that cross-linking helps keratoconus and that it halts the decline of the cornea. With this positive news, corneal transplantation surgery might become a thing of the past.