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C3 Linking

Corneal Collagen Cross Linking

This is a non-invasive treatment for patients with keratoconus. The aim of this procedure is to strengthen an already weak cornea by ‘cross linking’ the collagen fibres found in the cornea.

But what is Keratoconus?

This condition is a disease of the eye, specifically of the cornea. In an eye with Keratoconus, the cornea thins and bulges out into an irregular cone shape. The light coming through is distorted, the lens cannot focus it properly and vision is affected.

The first thing to know is that, for most people, the disease affects both eyes, but you can have it in only one eye. It’s also usual for one eye to be worse than the other. The disease can range from very mild, where you have almost no vision problems, to severe where you can have very poor vision. Some of the typical problems with Keratoconus are

  • “Ghosting” which is blurry double or treble images mostly seen when you see bright lights against a dark background, this can make night vision poor and have an impact on night driving
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
  • Eye strain
  • Itching
  • In more advanced cases, your cornea may be scarred.
  • In the worst cases, you can get a localised rupture of the cornea called corneal Hydrops.

How Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking Works

The procedure involves treating the eyes with riboflavin—vitamin B2—drops, and then exposing the cornea to 15-30 minutes of UV-A light. When combined with the riboflavin, it causes a reaction that increases the collagen bonds in the cornea which have been weakened by keratoconus. The treatment induces the natural anchors within the corneal fibers to link and prevent more bulging. Cross-linked corneal fibers actually occur naturally with aging. CXL speeds up that process and intensifies it.

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