The Science Behind Corneal Cross-Linking & Top 4 Alternatives to LASIK

Corneal cross-linking is one of the most effective techniques to strengthen the cornea of ​​patients with keratoconus. 

Corneal Cross-Linking To Treat Keratoconus

Corneal cross-linking was born to stabilize structurally weakened corneas in patients with keratoconus (progressive bulging of the cornea that generates irregular astigmatism and loss of vision). Until now, there was no conservative treatment for this pathology. 20% of the patients ended up needing a cornea transplant operation.

Cross-Linking: How Is The Treatment

In corneal cross-linking, we apply riboflavin (vitamin B2) solution to the cornea up to a certain absorption level. Subsequently, it is exposed to an ultraviolet light source (UVA), which generates a photochemical reaction in the corneal tissue (release of free oxygen radicals). This, in turn, induces the formation of new bonds between the collagen fibers, improving the structure of the transparent cornea and increasing its strength. The most frequent indication is the conservative treatment of patients with progressive keratoconus.

They are generally young patients with not excessively thin corneas (400 microns thick at its minimum point). It can also be applied in other pathologies due to corneal ectasia (post-lasik ectasia) and even in corneal infections.

Alternatives To LASIK

Its newest application is called “Lasik Xtra.” It combines the excimer laser myopia operation with cross-linking, improving the stability of the long-term results because it decreases the probability that myopia will reappear. LASIK is an incredible procedure that can restore vision for most patients, but not all are candidates. Patients with slightly thin or irregular corneas, moderate to high nearsightedness (nearsightedness) and astigmatism, a family history of certain corneal diseases, dry eyes, or extremely active lifestyles may not be able to receive LASIK. But LASIK is not the only option. PRK, Phakic intraocular lenses (IOLs), EpiLASIK, and ICL surgery can provide results equivalent to LASIK surgery. All these are 4 Best Alternatives to LASIK.

Photorefractive Keratectomy (Prk)

This procedure allows patients with dry eyes or extremely active lifestyles to correct nearsightedness (nearsightedness), farsightedness (farsightedness), and astigmatism. Your ophthalmologist uses a laser to reshape the cornea, correcting how light is focused as it enters the eye. Like LASIK, PRK can reduce or eliminate the need for contact lenses and glasses. Candidates for PRK must be 18 (ideally 21) or older with a stable prescription for at least the last year and good overall eye health.

Getting PRK is an easy process. First, your ophthalmologist will examine your eyes to ensure you are a good candidate. The procedure itself only takes about 15 minutes. You will then wear a bandage over your eye to heal it and be asked to take it easy for a week. You will also need to use eye drops to help with healing for about a month. In addition, you will wear protective sunglasses until your doctor gives you the go-ahead.

Implantable Collamer Lens (Icl)

This procedure, also known as a VO Implantable Collamer or Interocular Contact Lens, implants a contact lens permanently into the eye to treat nearsightedness and astigmatism. It is an excellent option for patients with thin corneas or dry eyes. Your doctor will determine what lens type, intraocular or soft, is required for your unique eyes. Like LASIK and PRK, the ICL procedure only takes about 15 minutes per eye. Since the surgery is minimally invasive, most patients recover very quickly. You will see results immediately, and your eye will be able to function normally again within 24 hours. You will make a follow-up appointment with your doctor like in Kraff Eye Institute for example the next day and use eye drops to help the healing process.