Chicago Cornea Consultants Logo

What is Corneal Cross-Linking?

close up of the cornea of an eye

Do you have abnormally shaped or thinning corneas? Are you wondering what you can do to treat them?

Corneal ectasia is the term used to describe abnormally shaped and thinning corneas. The most advanced way to treat corneal ectasia is with corneal cross-linking.

Keep reading to learn more about corneal-crosslinking and see if it is right for you! 

What is the Cornea, and How Does it Get Misshapen? 

The cornea is the transparent outermost layer of your eye. It plays a prominent role in clear eyesight.

Corneal ectasia can occur on its own, due to other diseases, or as a side effect of other eye treatments. For instance, keratoconus is a type of corneal ectasia. You can also develop post-LASIK corneal ectasia.

When this happens, the cornea is not in its normal shape. Instead, it starts to develop more of a cone shape and become thinner.

How Long Does it Take for the Cornea to Become Misshapen? 

Changes to the shape of the cornea can take anywhere from a few months to years. During this time, you may go through numerous prescription changes.

What Happens if You Don’t Treat Your Corneal Ectasia?

If the changes to your cornea go undiagnosed and untreated, you could experience permanent declines in your vision. When these changes are in later stages, most patients need a cornea transplant.

For this reason, you must have regular eye exams with your eye doctor. That way, they can diagnose corneal ectasia early and treat it, so it doesn’t impact your vision.

What is Corneal Cross-Linking or CXL?

CXL is a procedure performed by your eye doctor in their office. They use Riboflavin drops and ultraviolet light to create more collagen connections in your corneas.

The procedure creates cross-links between collagen fibers already in your cornea. This cross-linking makes your cornea more rigid and prevents future changes from happening.

When you are having CXL, both eyes usually do not get treated at the same time. That’s because the outermost part of your cornea gets removed and temporarily replaced with a contact lens.

This lens helps your eye heal properly and remain comfortable while healing. Your eye doctor will advise you on when the lens can come out.

It can be weeks before you can see clearly again. Until then, your vision might be blurry and changing constantly.

Is CXL a Successful Procedure? 

CXL has a high rate of preventing future vision loss. This is important to keep in mind when you get CXL. That’s because, even though in some cases it can improve your vision, the goal of CXL is to prevent more vision loss.

So, unlike LASIK or PRK, you will need to use your glasses or contacts after the procedure. Many people can tolerate contact lenses a lot better after getting CXL.

Also, unlike LASIK and other procedures, you can get CXL as many times as needed. While most patients only need it once, you can get it again if necessary.

Do you think corneal cross-linking could help your eyes? The first step is meeting with your eye doctor to see if they believe the procedure will help you.

Schedule a consultation at Chicago Cornea Consultants™ in Chicago, IL, to see if CXL is right for you!

LASIK eye surgery is a procedure that is designed to reduce your dependency on eyeglasses and contact lenses. Here at Chicago Cornea Consultants™, our LASIK surgeons and eye doctors use the latest in laser vision correction technology to ensure each patient receives optimal results.
Woman going for a run after LASIK
Laser Eye Surgery
As leaders in the field of ophthalmology, we were among the first in the area to offer the advanced Alcon LenSx laser platform for cataract surgery. This exciting new technology allows our skilled ophthalmologists to make incredibly precise modifications, enhancing the patient experience.
Elderly couple relaxing after Cataract Surgery
Advanced Cataract
Traditionally, presbyopia, which happens to all of us as we age, has always meant glasses for clear reading vision. It's a condition not even correctable by laser vision correction. Luckily, there is an option. Refractive lens exchange allows patients a clear alternative to reading glasses and is capable of reducing or eliminating presbyopia by using an advanced multifocal intraocular lens.
Refractive Lens Exchange
refractive lens
exchange/phakic iol's
Keratoconus describes a cornea that weakens as collagen fibers deteriorate, causing the cornea to adapt a cone-like shape. Keratoconus can cause blurred vision, light sensitivity, glares, and decreased night vision. In its early stages, keratoconus may be treated with the use of prescription glasses or contact lenses. Keratoconus is also one of the most common reasons for corneal transplant, and one of the most successful. Call any of our offices and ask to speak to the Vision Correction Surgical Coordinator, or use the contact form below.
Closeup of the Cornea
It's estimated that a million or more Americans have glaucoma and don't even know it. People with glaucoma often do not experience any symptoms until they begin losing their peripheral vision. One of the scariest things about glaucoma is that it usually has no symptoms in the early stages, earning glaucoma the name "silent thief of sight." Anyone can be at risk, so it's important to have your vision regularly examined.
Elderly couple smiling after Glaucoma treatment
At Chicago Cornea Consultants™, our doctors take great care in maintaining ocular health for our patients. However, a number of our patients voice concerns regarding soft lines and wrinkles around the eyes and other regions of the face. We have responded by introducing cosmetic procedures like BOTOX® Cosmetic through our Chicago practice.
Woman posing after BOTOX
Dry eye can result from a lack of sufficient production of your own natural tears, with an inability to provide adequate lubrication for your eyes. This can cause mild to severe discomfort including itching, stinging and burning. Dry eyes are a common concern in Chicago, and the experienced team of corneal specialists at Chicago Cornea Consultants™ have the latest advancements in technology to treat dry eye.
older woman smiling
Dry Eye
Contact lenses are medical devices which interact directly with the ocular surface of the eye. At Chicago Cornea Consultants™, we provide exceptional care to ensure that you obtain the best possible vision with contact lenses that fit appropriately and maximize health benefits.
Mature Man Having an Eye Exam
(800) 8-CORNEA
Online Bill Pay Book Now Cataract Self-Test LASIK Self-Test