Keratoconus usually strikes in the teen years, where it starts years of progressively worsening vision. There’s no cure for keratoconus, but here at Atlanta Vision Cataract & Laser Center, we can stop the ongoing corneal deterioration with the only treatment currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration: the Avedro system for corneal cross-linking.
What you need to know about keratoconus progression
Keratoconus is an eye condition that affects your cornea. A normal, healthy cornea is dome-shaped, a quality that’s essential for your vision. As light enters your eyes from all directions, the shape of the cornea bends, or refracts, the light rays so they focus on the center of the lens.
The cornea’s ability to properly refract light represents about 70% of the focusing power in your eyes. In other words, when the cornea is misshapen, you develop vision problems.
When you have keratoconus, the cornea starts to thin and change shape. Instead of forming a rounded dome, the weakened center of the cornea begins to protrude out from the eye, creating a cone shape that can’t properly focus light.
Keratoconus typically starts in the teen years and continues to cause corneal thinning that worsens with each passing year. For most patients, this ongoing change continues into their 30s or early 40s before the thinning finally stops and the condition stabilizes.
We can’t predict how fast it will progress or exactly when the changes will stop. The pace and severity of keratoconus vary with each patient. Meanwhile, your vision is at risk because it worsens along with the corneal thinning.
Corneal cross-linking stops keratoconus progression
We may not be able to cure keratoconus, but we can protect your vision with corneal collagen cross-linking, an innovative procedure that stops the condition from worsening. Here’s a quick explanation of how cross-linking works.
The cornea’s shape and transparency are maintained by threads of collagen. Over the years, bonds naturally develop between these threads to ensure your cornea stays clear and strong. Corneal cross-linking uses riboflavin eyedrops and ultraviolet light to accelerate the production of these collagen bonds.
As new bonds form, the cornea is strengthened and becomes more rigid. As a result, your cornea stops thinning and keratoconus stabilizes.
Benefits of Avedro cross-linking
Avedro is the name of the company that was awarded the first, and currently the only, FDA approval for its cross-linking system. The Avedro KXL System® includes all the components we need to perform successful cross-linking, including:
Photrexa® and Photrexa® Viscous
These riboflavin eyedrops are the only ophthalmic solutions that are FDA-approved for cross-linking. Riboflavin triggers the chemical reaction that builds additional collagen bonds.
This is the FDA-approved device we use to deliver ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light breaks down riboflavin so it can initiate rapid collagen cross-linking.
FDA approval is only awarded after extensive clinical trials prove a treatment’s safety and effectiveness. That means you can rely on Avedro’s riboflavin formulas and precise UV delivery system to produce exceptional results.
Another benefit of the Avedro system is that your treatment only takes about 30 minutes. After we apply numbing drops and gently remove a thin layer at the surface of your cornea, we administer riboflavin eyedrops and expose your eye to the UV light. You stay under the light for 30 minutes while we add Photrexa drops at regular intervals for optimal corneal cross-linking.
Finally, one of the best benefits is this: Avedro is approved for patients aged 14 and older. This is incredibly important because it means we can halt keratoconus at an early age before it has time to advance to a severe stage.
If you’re already diagnosed with keratoconus or you’ve noticed symptoms like blurry vision, distorted vision, or sensitivity to light, call Atlanta Vision Cataract & Laser Center or schedule an appointment online.