Collagen Crosslinking (CXL)

If you’ve been diagnosed with keratoconus and are thinking about corneal collagen cross-linking to slow or stop the progression of keratoconus,  look no further than Advanced Eye & Laser Center of Mansfield, led by fellowship-trained corneal specialist, Shaam Mahasneh, MD. We Mansfield, TX, South Arlington, Midlothian, Waxahachie and the surrounding area.

At Advanced Eye & Laser Center of Mansfield, we now perform the collagen cross-linking procedure in select keratoconus patients. The procedure creates cross-links in the diseased cornea, slowing or stopping the progression of keratoconus. CXL is performed as an outpatient procedure and typically takes less than an hour to complete. The procedure only uses UV light, combined with riboflavin and has minimal discomfort. During your evaluation, our doctor will discuss whether or not CXL is the best procedure for you.

How does collagen cross-linking work?:

Collagen is the structural protein that provides strength and firmness to our corneal tissue. CXL works by forming new cross-links between collagen fibers, which are the natural “anchors” within the cornea. These anchors are responsible for preventing the weakened cornea from bulging out and becoming steep and irregular. The addition of these “cross beams” acts like adding rungs on a ladder to stiffen and strengthen the cornea, allowing it to focus light more efficiently and accurately.

How effective is cross-linking?:

Based on available data, CXL offers a treatment for a disease that currently has no real medical treatment other than surgical insertion of plastic implants (INTACS) or corneal transplantation. Many research studies have shown that cross-linking prevents further vision loss in more than 95% of patients, with more than 70% of patients getting improved vision. As with many conditions, the earlier the condition is treated, the better the results. If cross-linking is performed early, it may be possible to prevent the signs and symptoms of keratoconus in some eyes with “pre-clinical” keratoconus.

How long does cross-linking treatment last?:

Based on cross-linking results from more than a decade, the beneficial effects of CXL appear to last for a long time, and there is evidence that this strengthening effect may be permanent. In many studies, most patients respond to a single cross-linking treatment and do not need to have the procedure repeated. For the occasional patient in whom this treatment is not successful, cross-linking can be repeated.

Does the CXL procedure hurt?:

No. The actual cross-linking procedure is painless because anesthetic eye drops are used to eliminate any discomfort. It is normal for you to have some discomfort after CXL while the corneal epithelium heals. You may experience light sensitivity, a dry, scratchy sensation in your eye, or feel as if there is an eyelash in your eye.