Keratoconus is an eye disease that our Pittsburgh offices can offer care for.

New technologies founded within the last decade have assisted medical professionals across all care spectrums in diagnosing patients and treating conditions that may arise. AtEverett & Hurite,that new technology is allowing us to take the necessary steps to evaluate and treat a myriad of eye conditions our patients may have.

Recently, for example, our offices purchased a new UV therapy that can treat progressive eye diseases like keratoconus. This disease is becoming increasingly common and requires a specialized approach to ensure proper care is delivered.

What Is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye disease where the cornea thins and gradually bulges outward into a cone shape. This is due to a weakening of small fibers, or collagen, in the eye that gives the cornea its shape. What causes this weakening and eventual bulging remains a mystery - but with an estimated 1 in 750 people in the United States currently diagnosed with keratoconus, it has become one of the most prevalent corneal diseases.

Symptoms of keratoconus include:

  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nearsightedness

While the exact cause of the disease is unknown, some speculated causes or contributing factors include genetics, excessive eye rubbing, eye irritation, the use of improperly sized contact lenses, a complication of laser correction vision, or corneal damage.

How Is Keratoconus Treated?

Until recently, the only way to treat keratoconus was through corrective lenses or corneal transplant surgery. These options do not address the underlying issue—the weakening of collagen fibers in the eye.

However, with advancements in technology and medicine, a new treatment option has emerged - cross-corneal linking (CXL). This therapy is designed to strengthen the cornea by increasing the number of collagen cross-links within its structure.

What is Cross-Corneal Linking?

Cross-corneal linking, also known as corneal crosslinking or CXL, is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat progressive eye diseases like keratoconus. It involves applying riboflavin (vitamin B2) drops to the surface of the eye and then exposing it to ultraviolet (UV) light.

This process helps to strengthen the weakened collagen fibers in the cornea and prevent further bulging, which can stop or slow down the progression of keratoconus. The corneal cross-linking procedure typically takes 30 minutes to an hour and is performed in an outpatient setting.

During the procedure, a small amount of tissue from the cornea's surface may be removed to allow better penetration of riboflavin drops. The eye is then exposed to UV light for approximately 30 minutes. After the procedure, a bandage contact lens may be placed to help with healing and discomfort. Most patients are able to return to their normal activities within a week or two.

Benefits of Cross-Corneal Linking

Cross-corneal linking has been proven to be an effective treatment for progressive eye diseases like keratoconus, with studies showing that it can stop or even reverse the progression of the disease in many cases. It is also a safe and minimally invasive alternative to more invasive procedures like corneal transplants. Additionally, the procedure has a low risk of complications and can be performed on patients of all ages.

AtEverett & Hurite, we are proud to offer FDA-approved cross-corneal linking technology to our patients, providing them with the latest and most effective treatment options for their eye conditions. Our team of experienced ophthalmologists will work closely with each patient to create a personalized treatment plan that addresses their specific needs and concerns.

Who Is A Good Candidate For Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking?

Corneal cross-linking surgery is typically recommended for patients who have been diagnosed with progressive keratoconus or other corneal diseases that can be treated with UV therapy. Patients who are experiencing symptoms of blurry or distorted vision, light sensitivity, and nearsightedness may be good candidates for this procedure. It is important to consult with an experienced eye care professional to determine if cross-corneal linking is the right treatment option for you.

How Can I Arrange Care For My Diagnosis?

As with any health issue, the first step in caring for keratoconus is a proper diagnosis. A treatment plan can only be developed after a comprehensive exam and, if necessary, follow-up testing. Patients over the age of 14 who receive a diagnosis of keratoconus will be able to begin discussing care options with their doctor following a confirmation.

To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced ophthalmologists atEverett & Hurite for evaluation and treatment of keratoconus, please give us a call or visit our website. With our advanced technology and expert care, we are dedicated to helping our patients achieve optimal eye health and vision.

Choose Everett & Hurite for Healthy Cornea!

If you have concerns about keratoconus or other eye conditions,we invite you to contact Everett & Hurite to discuss your care options. Our specialized staff will guide you through the process of diagnosing any eye illnesses that may need treatment and will ensure that your care is properly coordinated based on your individual eye health needs. If you are interested in being examined for keratoconus or a similar condition,contact your nearest location today to schedule an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take me to recover from keratoconus treatments?

Recovery time for keratoconus treatment varies by the type of treatment. For corrective lenses or corneal transplants, patients may experience a longer recovery time. However, with cross-corneal linking, most patients are able to return to their normal activities within a week or two. It is important to follow your doctor's post-treatment instructions for the best recovery.

Is cross-corneal linking a permanent solution for keratoconus?

While cross-corneal linking can provide long-lasting results, it is not considered a permanent solution. The treatment's effects may diminish over time, and some patients may require additional treatments or follow-up procedures. It is important to continue regular check-ups with Everett & Hurite to monitor the progression of your condition.

Can cross-corneal linking be used to treat other eye conditions?

While cross-corneal linking is primarily used to treat keratoconus, it has also been shown to be effective in treating other corneal diseases, such as pellucid marginal degeneration and post-LASIK ectasia. Not all patients may be suitable for this treatment. Consulting an experienced ophthalmologist at Everett & Hurite is crucial to determine the best course of action for your specific eye condition.