CLEVELAND, May 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- For years, patients with an eye disease called keratoconus have had little to no hope of continuing to see well without glasses or contacts, and a portion of them had a high risk corneal transplant in their future. Keratoconus is an eye disease that causes the cornea (the clear covering on the eye) to become thin and steep over time. Patients with keratoconus can wear special contact lenses or in some cases glasses. Many of them lose the ability to see well even with corrective eye wear. And, some will need a corneal transplant. To make matters worse, most transplanted corneas only last about 10 years, and so the patient might need several in a lifetime.
A Corneal Cross-Linking (also referred to as CXL) research study may offer hope. The procedure is available at 450 facilities throughout the world. The procedure is still in FDA testing in the United States. Dr. Wiley and Dr. Bafna of the Cleveland Eye Clinic both perform the procedure and are involved in a study to monitor the outcomes and efficacy of this procedure.
Corneal Cross-Linking can strengthen the cross-links between collagen fibers that keep it strong and able to retain its normal shape. In keratoconus, the cornea is weak with too few cross-links or support beams. This weakened structure allows the cornea to bulge outwards. The crosslinking procedure appears to strengthen the cornea through the proposed mechanism of adding cross-links to the cornea, making it appear to be more stable, thus maintaining visual quality.
During CXL, the surgeon puts riboflavin eye drops on the cornea every couple of minutes for about half an hour. Next the ultraviolet light is applied while more drops are administered for thirty minutes. The participant sits comfortably in a reclined position while viewing the light source and can listen to music during the procedure. The participant naps for 2-4 hours after the procedure and returns to normal function after a day or two of visual recovery. The Cleveland Eye Clinic surgeons have seen success from the procedure. 100% of the procedures performed have resulted in a strengthened cornea. And, none of the Cleveland Eye Clinic's CXL patients have needed a corneal transplant to date.
CONTACT: Shamik Bafna, MD
SOURCE Cleveland Eye Clinic