Corneal Collagen Crosslinking with Riboflavin (CXL) is a developing keratoconus treatment. CXL works by increasing collagen crosslinks which are the natural “anchors” within the cornea. These anchors are responsible for preventing the cornea from bulging out and becoming steep and irregular.
During the corneal crosslinking treatment, custom-made riboflavin drops saturate 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 cross-linking in the cornea and strengthen the cornea.
Collagen crosslinking is not a cure for keratoconus. The aim of this treatment is to arrest progression of keratoconus, and thereby prevent further deterioration in vision and the need for corneal transplantation. Glasses or contact lenses will still be needed following the cross-linking treatment (although a change in the prescription may be required) but it is hoped that it could limit further deterioration of vision.
This procedure, developed at the Technische Universität Dresden, Germany has been shown to slow or arrest the progression of keratoconus in published European studies. CXL is currently in US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clinical trials.
The information in this article was provided by the National Keratoconus Foundation at nkcf.org. The organizationis an excellent source of current information on keratoconus.