Some patients suffer from a structurally weak cornea. In such a weak cornea, the internal pressure within the eye leads to a bulging of the cornea. This kind of bulging results in a condition called keratoconus. In keratoconus, there is a localized thinning and bulging of the cornea. In many patients, this is a progressive condition. If the condition is progressive, eventually, the patient would have severe visual difficulties.
Keratoconus is condition that has multi factorial and sometimes unknown causes. It can be genetic in origin, and sometimes it can also be due to a habit of rubbing the eye. It usually manifests in the late teens and early twenties. Normally, rigid contact lenses are prescribed, which basically prevent the cornea from bulging, and smoothen the cornea, thus preventing visual deterioration. However, in progressive cases, eventually there is no alternative than to replace the cornea by undergoing a corneal transplant.
In the last few years, corneal crosslinking has emerged as a viable alternative treatment for keratoconus. It involves dosing the cornea with a drug called riboflavin, and then giving an extended dose of ultraviolet light to the cornea. This forces corneal fibres to “cross-link”, and thus strengthen’s the cornea. In many progressive cases, keratoconus progress can be stalled, and in some cases, even reversed. Combined approaches, such as crosslinking followed by topography linked excimer laser treatment, can be used for maximum visual benefit.
Crosslinking is also useful for the treatment of keractesia, a complication of LASIK in which the cornea becomes structurally weak. In addition, it can also be used to treat certain infections of the eye.
Dr. Rupal Shah has extensive experience of corneal cross linking. New Vision Laser Centers is a referral center for all complicated cases of keratoconus and keractesia, for treatment with corneal crosslinking.