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What’s the Connection Between Corneal Cross-linking and Your Local Deli?

Eye doctor, woman brown eye close up in San Leandro, Concord & Castro Valley, CA

Before we address the issue of what corneal cross-linking and buying deli meats have in common, let’s talk about what cross-linking (CXL) is, and who it can help.

Corneal cross-linking is an advanced, FDA-approved treatment for keratoconus. Keratoconus is characterized by a thinner-than-normal, weak cornea that bulges forwards into a cone shape, instead of lying flat like a healthy cornea. Due to this unhealthy shape, vision is blurred or distorted. We offer collagen corneal crosslinking in San Leandro, Castro Valley, and Concord as a breakthrough treatment to help prevent additional bulging of the cornea when you have keratoconus.

Cross-linking Slows Keratoconus

This revolutionary treatment aims to strengthen the cornea in order to slow or stop the progression of corneal warpage. It is a promising procedure that has led to many positive outcomes, with minimal risk.

Crosslinking adds special bonds in between the collagen fibers that you have in your eye, and these fibers function to support and stabilize the cornea. It thereby strengthens the corneal tissues, which reduces the degree of protrusion and may improve vision too (as a side benefit).

Although CXL is was only approved by the FDA for use in the US in 2016. it was approved for use in Europe over a decade ago and has already been performed on tens of thousands of patients. In fact, it is regarded as the one and only treatment to slow the deterioration of keratoconus, which may help you to avoid a corneal transplant.

The Basic CXL Procedure

This is where we will explain what crosslinking shares with the deli counter! CXL is a painless procedure that we perform in the comfort of our modern eye care centers in Castro Valley, Concord, and San Leandro. First, our eye doctor will insert eye drops of specialized riboflavin (B-vitamin) solution on your cornea for about half an hour. (We will also provide something to relax your nerves!) Afterward, your eyes will be exposed to 10-30 minutes of UVA light, which is similar in intensity to the sterilizing blue lights that your local deli shines to keep the counter hygienic.

Now you just need to wait for results! Usually, initial results are noticed within one week, and most of the effects are experienced within a month.

A Closer Look at the Types of Corneal Crosslinking

Actually, there are two types of crosslinking: epi-off and epi-on. “Epi” stands for epithelium, the layer of tissue that coats your cornea.

With epi-off, your eye doctor will remove the epithelium before inserting the eye drops. Some studies have shown that this facilitates better absorption of the vitamins and light. But it may also be riskier, and it takes longer for eyes to heal after CXL. Complete recuperation averages about 4-10 days, but could take as long as a few weeks. During that time, you’ll need to wear soft contacts for about a week and use medicated eye drops for up to two weeks.

With epi-on, your epithelium is left intact. That means you’ll have a fully painless experience and a shorter recovery. However, at present the FDA has only given official approval for the epi-off type of procedure.

Candidacy for Crosslinking

If you have keratoconus or a different corneal disorder, CXL may be an appropriate treatment to slow the progression of your corneal protrusion. Our eye doctor will perform a thorough eye exam to determine if your eyes are suitable for this progressive therapy.

Corneal Cross-linking in San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley

Want to know more? Contact our eye doctors at Turner Eye Institute, in Concord, San Leandro, and Castro Valley to discuss corneal cross-linking as an effective way to manage your keratoconus.