Corneal Cross Linking

What is corneal cross linking?

Corneal cross linking is a procedure to stop the progression of keratoconus, a condition in which the cornea or lens of the eye becomes thin and misshapen over time. When the cornea changes shape, a child can experience double or blurred vision, nearsightedness, astigmatism or increased sensitivity to light.

  • one in 2,000 people in the U.S. have keratoconus
  • keratoconus most often affects teenagers and young adults in their 20s

Why would my child need corneal cross linking?

Corneal cross linking is a non-invasive procedure that increases the rigidity of the cornea and can stop it from thinning further. The procedure does not reverse existing damage but prevents the condition from progressing.

Although rare, some children with keratoconus who do not receive treatment will need a corneal transplant later in their lives. Corneal cross linking reduces the chance that a child will need a corneal transplant.

What happens during corneal cross linking?

Doctors use eye drops and UV light to strengthen bonds between collagen fibers in the cornea. The procedure lasts 30 to 60 minutes.

After surgery the eye may be painful for several days. The child will need to wear a soft contact lens for about a week after surgery and use eye drops. It is very important not to rub the eye while it heals.