What to Expect from CXL?

Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking (CXL) is painless. There are no injections, stitches or incisions. It is performed by a highly skilled surgeon who is a corneal specialist. Corneal Cross-Linking begins with the application of topical anesthetic eye drops to numb the eye. The surface or epithelium of the cornea is then carefully polished and the eye is treated with an application of Riboflavin eye drops. These must remain on the eye for 30 minutes. The full Corneal Cross-Linking procedure takes approximately one hour of operating room time.

In the next step, UV-A light is administered to the eye for an additional 30 minutes, causing the collagen cross-linking bonds to form.

Finally, a contact lens bandage will be applied by the surgeon and left on the surface of the eye day and night without removal for a period of 5-6 days to ensure proper healing. After this initial healing period, the contact lens bandage will be removed at the clinic.

Step 1

The surface of the eye is gently polished using a rotary ephithelial brush.

Step 2
Riboflavin drops are applied to the eye.

Step 3
UV-A light is applied to the eye.

Step 4
A bandage contact lens is put in place to assist the initial healing process.

With the exception of the contact lens bandage applied by the surgeon during Corneal Cross-Linking, no contact lenses can be worn for several weeks following the treatment. In the first few days following Corneal Cross-Linking, pain is variable from patient to patient. Patients can expect to feel moderate discomfort, and a small minority will experience a greater degree of discomfort. We will provide you with a prescription for pain medication which should provide relief.

Following the Corneal Cross-Linking procedure, patients will still need to wear glasses or contact lenses. If you wear contact lenses, changes to the corneal shape may require a new contact lens fitting or prescription change.

What are the risks associated with Corneal Cross-Linking?

Very few risks are associated with this procedure. Patients should expect some degree of light sensitivity and moderate discomfort as the cornea heals. There is a small risk of mild corneal haze (due to the cross-linking process) which can initially blur vision. However, this usually resolves itself in time.

Interested in CXL? Find out if you're a candidate for the procedure by undergoing a comprehensive exam. Book your appointment online today!