Keratoconus is a congenital eye disease in which the cornea continuously thins out and becomes conically deformed. This astigmatism steadily increases and the patient notices decreased vision. In this progressive disease, corneal transplantation is the final stage. In most cases, however, such a transplantation can be avoided through crosslinking.
The so-called crosslinking of the cornea describes the linking of the fibres to mechanically stabilize the corneal tissue. The disease cannot be reversed hereby, but can at least be stopped in its current state. In many cases, a slow decline in irregular corneal shape has also been observed.
In crosslinking, the cornea is treated by a combination of riboflavin drops (vitamin B2) and UV irradiation. This method is also successfully used in other medical fields in other tissues, for example as a filling at the dentist.
The UV-riboflavin-crosslinking is a frequently used, safe and effective treatment to stop the progression of keratoconus. Aside from the general risks of surgery, no side effects or complications have occurred with this method.
We first disinfect your facial area. You will receive a local anaesthetic in the form of eye drops. Your eyelids will be fixed. All this is completely symptom-free and painless.
First, the top protective layer of the cornea, the epithelium, is removed so that the eye drops can reach the next layer of the cornea, the stroma. The riboflavin eye drops are dropped into the eyes for 30 minutes.
This is followed by a 10-minute exposure of the cornea to ultraviolet light.
In the last step soft contact lenses are used in order to protect the eye after surgery. Medication prevents inflammation and reduces post-operative pain. The protective lenses are removed after 2 to 3 days by the surgeon. That’s it!