Cross-Linking Explained …

Cross-linking is a proven, non-invasive procedure that strengthens the weak corneal structure in keratoconus. This method works by increasing collagen Cross-linking, which are the natural “anchors” within the cornea. These anchors are responsible for preventing the cornea from bulging out and becoming steep and irregular (which is the cause of keratoconus).

The treatment involves custom-made riboflavin eye drops which are applied to the cornea, these eye drops are then activated by a special light. Laboratory and clinical studies demonstrate that this procedure increases the amount of collagen Cross-linking in the cornea and strengthens the cornea. In published European studies, researchers proved the safety and effectiveness of such treatments in patients.

The collagen Cross-linking with riboflavin has its roots in dermatology. Doctors looking for a way to strengthen sagging skin realised that triggering collagen Cross-linking was the way to achieve this. Eye physicians in Germany who performed initial studies took the process one step further. They reported results of treatments done as long ago as 1998, so there is a good record of accomplishment for this procedure.

Cross-linking treatments can also be combined with Intacs® to flatten the keratoconus cone even more than with Intacs® alone. In these cases, Cross-linking treatments stabilise keratoconus from getting worse as well as help the Intacs® reverse the keratoconus steepening that had already occurred up to the time of the treatment. Cross-linking is also showing promise in stabilising patients after radial keratotomy (RK).

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Cross-linking – What Is It?

Mr Glenn Carp – “We have treatments nowadays to prevent keratoconus from worsening, so people identified at very young age, or an early phase of the condition, we can use corneal collagen cross-linking to freeze the cornea, to stiffen it and hold its position from what it has developed to.  It is not really possible to reverse the condition, although a very small group of people do get a little bit of reversal, but the mainstay of this treatment is to stabilise the cornea in its current position allowing conventional things like contact lenses to correct the vision and avoiding much more invasive surgery like corneal graft surgery in the future.”


Mr Glenn Carp describes the cross-linking procedure.

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What Is Cross-Linking? [video]

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