Corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) is used to prevent the progression of eye conditions such as keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration and other forms of corneal ectasia. Cross-linking is a procedure which is intended to strengthen the connections (chemical bonds) between collagen molecules within the stroma of the cornea. During the CXL procedure, the superficial layer of the corneal is removed (either manually or using an Excimer laser) exposing the underlying corneal tissue. Riboflavin (vitamin B2) eye-drops are placed on the exposed corneal tissue for 30 minutes to ensure penetration of the riboflavin throughout the cornea. The cornea is then exposed to an ultraviolet (UV-A) light source for 10-30 minutes. This ultraviolet light stimulates a chemical reaction in the cornea leading to the creation of chemical bonds between collagen molecules and a stiffening of the corneal tissue.
The procedure will usually take approximately 50 minutes to complete. In most cases the corneal shape will remain stable after CXL and vision will be maintained (and sometimes improved).
LaserVision surgeons were involved in the world’s first randomized clinical trial of corneal collagen cross-linking which was performed in Melbourne and helped demonstrate the effectiveness of the treatment.