When it comes to your eye health, nothing is more important than getting an early diagnosis and treatment that stops the problem from worsening and causing vision loss. But that wasn’t always possible for keratoconus.
For many years, we didn’t have a treatment that could stop the progression of keratoconus. But that has changed. At Atlanta Vision Cataract and Laser Center, we proudly offer Peschke® corneal cross-linking, which gives you a safe, effective, and quick way to protect your vision by stopping keratoconus from worsening.
Keratoconus affects your Cornea
While many eye problems — such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration — are associated with aging, keratoconus uniquely begins in adolescents and young adults.
In patients with keratoconus, the cornea starts thinning, a process that’s usually gradual but is always persistent, as it continues to progressively thin until around the age of 30.
As the cornea thins, its shape changes. Instead of forming a rounded dome over your eye, the center of the cornea begins to protrude out in a shape resembling a cone.
The shape of your cornea is essential for clear vision because it has a significant role in focusing light. In fact, your cornea is responsible for about 70% of the focusing power in your eye. This means that your vision worsens as keratoconus progresses.
In the early stages, contact lenses or eyeglasses can correct your vision. But eventually your cornea becomes so thin and misshapen that corrective eyewear doesn’t help. That’s why it’s so essential to stop keratoconus from progressing as early as possible.
Peschke Corneal Cross-Linking Stops Keratoconus
Since your cornea is clear, it’s hard to imagine that it’s made from solid components like collagen. But tiny strands of collagen in the cornea are organized in a way that strengthens the cornea, maintains its shape, and enhances its ability to focus light.
Collagen cross-linking — the formation of bonds between strands of collagen — naturally occurs over time to help maintain a strong cornea and healthy eyes.
Peschke corneal cross-linking takes advantage of that natural process, using a safe chemical reaction to stimulate collagen cross-linking. As a result, your thinning cornea is strengthened and becomes more rigid, and the progression of keratoconus is stopped.
How is the chemical reaction created? First the team at Atlanta Vision Cataract and Laser Center apply eyedrops containing riboflavin (vitamin B2), then they expose your riboflavin-infused eye to ultraviolet (UV) light, while continuing to add riboflavin drops at specific intervals.
When riboflavin is subjected to UV light, it breaks down and triggers chemical reactions. In your cornea, it initiates a reaction that rapidly produces collagen cross-linking.
Advantages of the Peschke System
The Peschke corneal cross-linking system offers advantages such as:
Standard collagen cross-linking treatments apply ultraviolet light for 30 minutes. The Peschke system speeds up the process, using the highest, safe level of UV for 10 minutes. During that time, the UV light cycles between being on for 5 seconds, then off for 5 seconds.
The Peschke protocol shortens your treatment time, reduces your exposure to UV light, and produces the same or better results. Studies show that an accelerated procedure may improve certain characteristics of your cornea (such as elasticity) better than standard procedures.
Safe for Very Thin Corneas
Cross-linking treatment may not be recommended if your cornea is too thin. But Peschke has an advanced riboflavin eyedrop that overcomes the problem of a thin cornea and makes collagen cross-linking available for more patients.
Epithelium May Stay Intact
Many corneal cross-linking treatments begin with your eye doctor gently removing the epithelium, which is the outer layer of tissue on your cornea. Removing the epithelium allows the riboflavin eyedrops to diffuse into the cornea.
The Peschke system provides specialized riboflavin eyedrops that penetrate without removing the corneal epithelium. As a result, your post-procedure pain and the risk of infection are significantly lower.
The Peschke device is designed to provide optimal protection for your eye. The depth of the light can be adjusted to ensure it focuses only on your clear cornea. The system also contains an integrated infrared camera that tracks eye movement and constantly adjusts the light to ensure proper intensity throughout your treatment.
To learn more about how Peschke corneal cross-linking can stop the progression of your keratoconus, call Atlanta Vision Cataract and Laser Center or book an appointment online.