Collagen Cross-Linking


Collagen cross-linking is an outpatient surgical procedure which is highly effective in preventing the deterioration of keratoconus. If it is done early enough it can prevent the extreme thinning of the cornea that could otherwise result in scarring and a need for corneal transplantation. It was first developed in Germany in 1998 and has become a critically important treatment for keratoconus.


Keratoconus is a genetic disease of the cornea in which the collagen fibres responsible for the strength of the cornea become progressively weaker resulting in corneal thinning and subsequent ballooning (ectasia) of the corneal surface. The irregular shape caused by the thinning process results in poor vision and requires corneal transplantation surgery in 30% of untreated eyes.


Cross-linking would benefit any patients with keratoconus whose corneas are shown to be progressively thinning and losing shape. Keratoconus rarely deteriorates after the age of 35 but there is significant deterioration in one’s teens and early twenties and cross-linking is enormously beneficial at this time.


Cross-linking is done as an outpatient procedure in the consulting rooms. The cornea is saturated with riboflavin (vitamin B2) in the form of eyedrops for several minutes. Thereafter an ultraviolet light is shone onto the eye which activates the riboflavin, creating a chemical reaction that permanently strengthens the corneal collagen fibres.

A general ocular examination along with a topographic scan of the cornea is necessary to establish the diagnosis, the severity of the condition and potential treatment options. Please contact us for more information and to set up a consultation.