Keratoconus is an eye condition that makes the cornea thin and bulge away from your eye like a cone. These changes mark the start of vision changes that progressively worsen through your 40s.
Until recently, treatment options were very limited and offered little hope for stopping the condition. But that has changed because here at Atlanta Vision Cataract and Laser Center we specialize in Peschke corneal cross-linking.
Corneal cross-linking explained
Your cornea is a clear, dome-shaped cover that protects your eye, gives it structure and shape, and is essential for focusing light so that you have clear vision. The middle layer of the cornea consists of threads of collagen that are precisely arranged in a way that keeps the cornea transparent.
Bonds naturally develop between the threads of collagen over the years, helping to keep your cornea strong and clear as you get older. In corneal cross linking, we use riboflavin drops and ultraviolet (UV) light to speed up collagen bonding (cross-linking). The boost in cross-linking treats keratoconus by quickly strengthening and flattening the cornea.
Benefits of Peschke cross-linking
Here are the top 10 ways that corneal cross-linking helps our patients with keratoconus:
Halts the progression of keratoconus
Keratoconus usually starts in the teenage years, then it continues to worsen into your 30s and sometimes your 40s before the thinning finally stabilizes. Treatment with Peschke corneal cross-linking stops this progressive corneal damage.
Prevents vision loss
As Peschke collagen cross-linking stabilizes the cornea and stops corneal thinning, it prevents ongoing vision loss due to keratoconus.
Has been approved for young teens
Even though this benefit isn’t directly related to the cross-linking procedure, it’s incredibly important to know that it’s FDA-approved for teens as young as 14. The earlier a patient is diagnosed and treated, the better. Early treatment prevents decades of potential vision loss and corneal scarring as keratoconus worsens.
Avoids corneal transplant
Beyond corneal cross-linking, your treatment options for keratoconus include contacts, Intacs® (surgically implanted plastic rings that may help flatten the cornea), and ultimately, a corneal transplant. Most patients who get cornea cross-linking avoid a corneal transplant in the future.
Enhances contact lens tolerance
The first line of treatment (other than Peschke corneal cross-linking) is contact lenses to correct the vision changes caused by keratoconus. But as the cornea continues to thin and become more misshapen, contacts won’t fit on your eyes.
After you undergo cross-linking, the shape of your cornea improves so you can continue wearing contacts to correct your vision.
Delivers fast treatment
One of the key benefits of Peschke corneal cross-linking is that your treatment is faster than other cross-linking procedures. With the Peschke system, your treatment only takes 10 minutes, which is a third of the treatment time of standard procedures.
Faster treatment protects your eyes by reducing their exposure to UV light. At the same time, you get equal or better results because the accelerated Peschke procedure also improves qualities that maintain corneal health, such as elasticity.
Proves suitable for thin corneas
Since keratoconus causes corneal thinning, you’d think that all cross-linking procedures would accommodate thin corneas, right? Unfortunately, they don’t. Standard cross-linking isn’t recommended if your cornea is too thin. Peschke overcomes that problem with a cutting-edge riboflavin eyedrop that makes the procedure safe and effective for thin corneas.
Serves as a safer treatment
Most cross-linking procedures begin with your eye doctor removing the outer layer of the cornea, a step that lets the riboflavin drops penetrate the cornea. The Peschke system has advanced riboflavin eyedrops that get through the outer layer. As a result of keeping the cornea intact, you have less post-procedure pain and a lower risk of infection.
Provides maximum eye protection
Although the riboflavin placed in your eye must be exposed to UV light to trigger collagen cross-linking, it’s important to ensure the light doesn’t reach below the cornea. The Peschke system contains a built-in camera that tracks your eye and continuously adjusts the light to the proper depth and intensity.
May improve vision
Some patients find that their vision improves after they undergo Peschke corneal cross-linking. While this is an amazing benefit, we purposefully placed it last on the list because we can’t guarantee your vision will improve until ongoing studies produce evidence telling us how often it improves vision and by how much.
When you choose Peschke corneal cross-linking, you should have realistic expectations. What we know about the procedure is that you can very realistically expect the treatment to restore corneal strength and stop keratoconus progression.
If you have questions or you’d like to learn whether you’re a good candidate for Peschke corneal cross-linking, call us at Atlanta Vision Cataract and Laser Center or book an appointment online.