What Is Corneal Cross-Linking?

Corneal cross-linking is an in-office procedure that works to strengthen and stabilize the cornea in eyes that have weakness from keratoconus or ectasia. At Baylor College of Medicine, our cornea specialists are experienced in the treatment of keratoconus and corneal ectasias.

Corneal cross-linking uses a combination of riboflavin drops and UV light to strengthen the cornea. The treatment creates additional links in areas of weakness of the cornea in order to prevent further damage and even reverse it.

What Is Keratoconus or Ectasia?

The cornea is the dome shaped window to the eye and needs to be smooth and regular shaped to see well. In certain conditions, the cornea has areas that become weak. When this occurs, the cornea starts to bulge, causing vision distortion.

Although glasses can correct some of this, most patients need additional treatment to get their best vision such as contacts or even a cornea transplant.

Who Needs Corneal Cross-Linking?

Patients with the following diseases may benefit from corneal cross-linking:

  • Keratoconus
  • Pellucid marginal degeneration
  • Ectasia after refractive surgery
  • Irregular astigmatism

What Can I Expect With Corneal Cross-Linking?

After your initial evaluation to determine if you are a candidate, you will come back for the treatment. The treatment is performed in an exam room with a combination of eye drops and light treatment for about 30 minutes. You should not feel any pain or discomfort, as you will receive numbing eye drops. After the procedure you will go home with a bandage lens on the eye for comfort, and we will see you the next day in the clinic.

How Do I Know I Am a Candidate?

To make an initial evaluation, please contact Amanda Vega at (713) 798-3176 or amandav@bcm.edu.

More Information

ASCRS EyeWorld Video Update - 2016 Combined Ophthalmic Symposium
Sumitra Khandelwal, M.D., Houston, discusses current strategies for corneal collagen cross-linking.

Randleman JB,  Khandelwal SS, Hafezi F. Corneal cross-linking. Surv Ophthalmol. 2015 Nov-Dec;60(6):509-23.

Khandelwal SS. The Literature - Corneal Cross-Linking. Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today. 2015 Aug.