Keratoconus Treatments: Corneal-Crosslinking Explained

Girl with GlassesKeratoconus is a disease that affects 1 in 2,000 Americans. The specific cause is currently uncertain. What is known is that it specifically targets the cornea, making it thin and bulging. This can distort vision greatly, leading to nearsightedness, astigmatism, and sometimes, light sensitivity. There are several treatments for keratoconus including custom contact lenses, corneal ring implants (Intacs), corneal transplant, and keratoplasty, but one of the most effective treatments is called corneal cross-linking.in.

What is Corneal Cross-Linking?

Corneal cross-linking (commonly referred to as CXL) is a procedure that aims to fortify the corneal tissue in an effort to stop the swelling of the cornea. It is a common keratoconus treatment, but it can be used to treat a wide variety of corneal disease as well.

How Does it Work?

A Boston corneal surgeon applies a liquid form of riboflavin (vitamin B2) to the affected eye, which sensitizes the corneal tissue. Afterwards, controlled ultraviolet light is used to activate the liquid. There are two different ways this procedure can be approached.
The first type involves the removal of the epithelium (the thin outer layer) of the cornea. This “epithelium-off” CXL method allows the vitamin B to penetrate the corneal tissue faster.

Epithelium-on” CXL is just the opposite, the trade-off being a less invasive procedure with a smaller risk of infection but a longer wait time for the treatment to take effect.

Is Corneal Cross-Linking Right for Me?

The only way to be sure is to talk to your Boston corneal specialist. Early detection and prevention is key to most medical treatments, and CXL is no exception. The procedure does not reverse damage done by keratoconus, but is very effective at halting its progression. Keratoconus shares many symptoms with other eye complications, such as:

  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty driving at night
  • Frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription
  • Sensitivity to light, halos, or ghosting
  • Eye pain
  • Headaches

If you experience these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you have keratoconus. A trained corneal specialist will be able to inspect your cornea at a microscopic level to determine whether or not you require advanced treatment. Specifically they will check for corneal thinning, scarring at the tip of the bulge, lines created by stress from the bulging, as well as measuring the curvature of the cornea. If you are diagnosed, our experts here at New England Eye Center will determine the best course of keratoconus treatment for you!

Our corneal specialists here at New England Eye Center are here to help. With years of experience and training, they are some of the best corneal surgeons in New England. If you are experiencing the symptoms of keratoconus and would like to be examined, contact our Boston, MA location and book an appointment today!

Credit Card Icon
Patient Financing Options
Cataract Self-Test
LASIK Self-Test

Our Locations

Laser Vision Center

Biewend Building, 11th Floor
260 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
Tel: 617-636-7800Fax: 617-636-9267Refractive Coordinator: 617-636-1055

New England Eye Center – Brookline

1371 Beacon Street,
Suite 100
Brookline, MA 02446

New England Eye Center – Cambridge

725 Concord Avenue,
Suite 2200
Cambridge, MA 02138

New England Eye Center – Wellesley

1 Washington Street,
Suite 212
Wellesley Hills, MA 02481

Our Locations

New England Eye Center (Main Office)
Tufts Medical Center

Biewend Building, 9-11 Floor
260 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02111
Telephone: 617-636-4600Fax: 617-636-4866

Laser Vision Center

Biewend Building, 11th Floor
260 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
Tel: 617-636-7800Fax: 617-636-9267Refractive Coordinator: 617-636-1055

New England Eyewear Optical Shop

Biewend Building, 11th Floor
260 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
Tel: 617-636-7800Fax: 617-636-1264
Hours: M – F | 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Pediatric Ophthalmology

Floating Hospital for Children, 6th Floor
755 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
Tel: 617-636-6769Fax: 617-636-3305

New England Eye Center – Brighton at Steward St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center

11 Nevins Street,
Suite 205
Brighton, MA 02135-3503
Toll Free: 800-391-7890Tel: 617-783-5050Fax: 617-783-0734

New England Eye Center – Brookline

1371 Beacon Street,
Suite 100
Brookline, MA 02446
Tel: 617-734-1396Fax: 617-734-1397

New England Eye Center – Cambridge

725 Concord Avenue,
Suite 2200
Cambridge, MA 02138
Toll Free: 833-864-8488Tel: 617-876-3660Fax: 617-876-2542

New England Eye Center – Framingham

959 Concord Street Suite 302
Framingham, MA 01701
Tel: 508-879-3204Fax: 508-620-0098

New England Eye Center – Wellesley

1 Washington Street,
Suite 212
Wellesley Hills, MA 02481
Toll Free: 800-452-2084Tel: 781-237-6770Fax: 781-237-4727