Dr. Jonathan Davidorf, a frequent contributor to FDA studies and advancements in eye care, has been selected to participate in a study aimed at the treatment of keratoconus. Affecting approximately 1 in 750 Americans, corneas with keratoconus can bulge forward into the shape of a cone causing high levels of astigmatism and poor vision. Often keratoconus patients first require glasses, then contact lenses, and, if the condition progresses in severity, a corneal transplant may be required.
Corneal collagen cross-linking is a procedure that was first introduced in 1998 to treat patients with weak, thin, and irregularly shaped corneas. The objective of the treatment is to slow, if not cease, the progression of keratoconus and ultimately improve vision. By adding”cross-links”, the cornea becomes more stable, improving its shape and focusing power. Ideally, these new cross-links strengthen the cornea and stop further vision loss.
The treatment is an outpatient procedure performed in the office. Patients are given numbing drops and a mild sedative. The epithelium, which is the thin layer of tissue covering the cornea, is then removed. Next, vitamin eye drops (riboflavin) are placed in the eye and the patient is asked to look at a soft blue UV light. Depending on corneal thickness, the treatment may be performed without removal of the epithelium. Throughout the treatment, the patient is comfortably reclined and eye drops are used to prevent dryness. The entire procedure takes approximately 90 minutes if both eyes are treated.
“Corneal collagen cross-linking may prove to be an excellent option for individuals struggling with keratoconus,” states Dr. Davidorf.”Patients have responded very favorably to the treatment, including less discomfort with contact lenses and improved vision.”