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Question:
How effective is corneal collagen cross-linking for keratoconus?

Answer:
Keratoconus is a disease of the cornea that leads to thinning and distortion of the cornea and, often, reduced vision. Often the condition can be treated with glasses or contacts, but some cases require a corneal transplant. Recently, a new treatment for keratoconus, called collagen cross-linking, became available abroad in Europe and in this country, at least on a somewhat limited basis. The treatment consists of applying a specific vitamin (riboflavin) as a drop to the cornea during treatment and using ultraviolet light to induce the cross-linking. Corneal cross-linking does show promise for stopping or at least slowing the progression of the disease in certain cases at certain stages. Unfortunately, it is not fully approved in the United States as of this writing. It is also not universally available as it is only being performed in a clinical research setting, and may be quite expensive. The treatment does appear to be effective when properly prescribed. Risks for the procedure are few but do exist. Ask your ophthalmologist if this treatment is right for you, as it just may be effective and helpful.

Answered by: Ivan Schwab, MD Dr. Ivan Schwab

Categories: Eye Diseases

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Answered: Jan 24, 2013

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