Cross Linking

What is CXL?

CXL, or corneal cross-linking, is an in-office eye procedure aimed at strengthening the cornea. CXL is often performed on patients with keratoconus or other corneal diseases, and sometimes on patients with LASIK complications.

How does it work?

CXL is a minimally-invasive procedure and reduces corneal ectasia caused by certain corneal diseases. Your CXL doctor will apply liquid riboflavin (vitamin B2) to the eye, followed by a controlled application of ultraviolet light.

There are two basic types of CXL:

  • Epithelium-off CXL: During this procedure, the outermost layer of the cornea (the epithelium) will be removed. This allows the treatment to penetrate the cornea more quickly and deeply.
  • Epithelium-on CXL: During this procedure, the epithelium is left intact. This means a longer treatment time but a shorter recovery time.

CXL is often combined with other keratoconus treatments, like Intacs. This combination has been helpful for those with severe keratoconus.

The Procedure

Before your procedure, you will need a preliminary eye examination. During this exam, your eye doctor will measure the thickness of your cornea and check your visual acuity and general eye health. This will help your doctor determine if you are a good candidate for CXL.  The CXL procedure takes about 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the method.

During epithelial-off crosslinking, you will be placed in a reclining position and your surgeon will remove the epithelial layer of your eye. The riboflavin eye drops will then be applied to your cornea. The UV light is then applied for up to 30 minutes. When finished, a soft contact “bandage” will be placed in your eye while the epithelial layer grows back.  If you are receiving epithelial-on crosslinking, you will be placed in a reclining position and the riboflavin drops will be placed. The UV light will be applied, and then the procedure is over.

The Recovery

You will be given topical antibiotics and anti-inflammatory eye drops. Studies have shown that CXL improves or stabilizes the condition of 99 percent of patients. CXL may cause some initial irritation, but the surface of the eye will recover within several weeks.

Interested in learning more about CXL? Call Anh Nguyen Ophthalmology to schedule your consultation for this revolutionary procedure!

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