Corneal Collagen Crosslinking

About Corneal Collagen Crosslinking

Corneal Collagen Crosslinking (CXL) procedure is used for the treatment of early to moderate keratoconus that can happen after refractive surgery or LASIK surgery. Keratoconus is the thinning and the bulging of the cornea. This can lead to irregular astigmatism and high myopia, or near sightedness. Visual loss occurs primarily from irregular astigmatism and myopia and secondarily from corneal scarring.

Corneal collagen cross-linking works by making crosslinks in the collagen fibers which are the natural “anchors” within the cornea, thereby strengthening and “hardening” the cornea so that it does not continue to thin and bulge. During the corneal crosslinking treatment, vitamin drops made of riboflavin are placed onto the cornea, which is then activated by ultraviolet light. This process has been shown in laboratory and clinical studies to increase the amount of collagen crosslinking in the cornea and strengthen the cornea.

Collagen crosslinking is not a cure for keratoconus. The aim of this treatment is to halt progression of keratoconus, thereby preventing further vision loss and the need for corneal transplantation. Glasses or contact lenses will still be needed following the crosslinking treatment (although there may be a change in the prescription) to clear the vision fully.

Why Choose Columbia?

Columbia University has been at the forefront of keratoconus research and treatment. Columbia ophthalmology became one of the first centers in North America to perform corneal collagen crosslinking to treat keratoconus and one of the first to participate in the national FDA trials looking at the efficacy of corneal collagen crosslinking. We also provide CXL for severe corneal infections such as keratitis that does not resolve with medical therapy. Finally, we provide various surgical options for those with advanced keratoconus who will need corneal transplantation.