Sometimes, your eyes begin to progressively worsen as you get older. In some of these cases, your worsening eyes are caused by keratoconus, a condition that causes your eyes to develop a severe, vision-blurring astigmatism.
This condition occurs when your corneas become weak, which causes them to develop more of an oblong shape. You can strengthen your weak corneas with a procedure called corneal cross-linking with riboflavin. Here, Dr. Randa Garrana of Advanced Lasik explains more about this innovative procedure and how it works to restore corneal shape and correct your vision.
What causes keratoconus?
Keratoconus is a weakening of the cornea. You may be able to guess that you might have it if your prescription frequently changes at every eye exam appointment.
Common symptoms include:
- Irregular astigmatism
- Progressive myopia (also known as nearsightedness)
- Objects appear blurry or fuzzy
- Sensitivity to light or glare
- Eye redness or itchiness
Research suggests that keratoconus occurs because of an imbalance of enzymes in your eyes. However, there also appears to be a hereditary component. Frequently rubbing your eyes or wearing contact lenses improperly can also cause the condition.
If you have keratoconus, your eyeball will gradually change shape to become more conical. In severe cases, you may require a corneal transplant to correct the problem.
Treating weak corneas
If your corneas are weak, you don’t have to just resign yourself to eventually needing a corneal transplant. That’s a fairly serious step, and it also requires living with years of worsening vision.
You have another alternative: corneal cross-linking with riboflavin. Offered in our New York City office, this FDA-approved treatment can often prevent the need for a corneal transplant in the future.
The procedure increases the amount of collagen in your corneas, which act as fibers to support and strengthen your corneas. We use a laser treatment that introduces UV radiation to further stimulate collagen production.
What the procedure is like
Corneal cross-linking is a short outpatient surgery, which means you can go home after the procedure is finished.
First, we put drops in your eyes to numb them. Then, we will apply vitamin B (riboflavin) drops, which stay in your eyes for about 30 minutes. After that, we shine a UV light into your eyes for another 30 minutes, which allows the riboflavin to work more effectively to create new fibers to support and strengthen your corneas.
The normal healing process
In the first week after the surgery, you should avoid:
- Rubbing or touching your eyes
- Wearing eye makeup
- Being in a dusty or smoky environment
- Doing strenuous exercise
- Getting water in your eyes
We give you some eye drops to use while your eyes are healing; these drops can help alleviate common temporary side effects of the procedure, such as:
- Feeling like you have something in your eye
- “Dry eye” syndrome
- Sensitivity to light
- Feeling mild discomfort
- Having hazy or blurry vision
Most corneal cross-linking procedures go exceptionally well. However, there is a minor risk of significant side effects, including infection and worsening keratoconus.
If you think you may be a good candidate for this procedure, schedule a consultation with Dr. Randa Garrana at Advanced Lasik in Manhattan, New York, and Pasadena and Long Beach, California. Give us a call today, or request an appointment online any time.