Corneal Cross-Linking


The condition

Keratoconus is a hereditary condition affecting the cornea (the transparent window at the front of the eye). It can also occur as a complication of LASIK, known as ectasia.

Keratoconus occurs as a change within the structure of the cornea making it weaker and thinner, resulting in a 'cone shaped' forward bulge. It leads to myopia (short sight) and, if the steepening is uneven, also astigmatism. With Keratoconus, visual distortion can become difficult to correct with spectacles, although contact lenses (usually rigid) can provide more functional visual performance.

At first, the protrusion occurs in the inferior parts (lower half) but later on it also affects the central part of the cornea.


View Video


Suitability for Corneal Cross Linking

This treatment is recommended for patients whose corneal scans show evidence of worsening keratoconus, or those judged to be at especially high risk of worsening keratoconus. As cross-linking naturally increases with age, the progress of keratoconus usually stops by the mid-30s, so is not normally required for older patients.


What you can expect from Cross Linking


Cross linking is currently the only available treatment which appears to stop the worsening of keratoconus. Clinical trials based on outcomes 1 year after cross-linking show success in the halting of keratoconus in more than 90% of treated eyes, with more than 45% of eyes also gaining an improvement in corneal shape. A separate study over a 5 year period showed a similar success rate in halting the progress of keratoconus. Visual improvement after treatment occurs in approximately 50% of cases. However, after treatment you will still need to wear spectacles or contact lenses.


What are the risks of Cross Linking?


In general, cross linking is very safe, but you should allow time for your eye to heal and problems do occasionally occur. About 3% of patients will experience some loss of vision in the treated eye as a result of haze, infection or other complications. In most cases any visual loss can be reversed with a corneal transplant. Without cross linking treatment, at least 20% of all patients with keratoconus will eventually require a corneal transplant.


Cross Linking Treatment at Optimax


A minimally-invasive procedure called Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking has now been developed and is available at Optimax.

Corneal Cross Linking at Optimax – An Effective Treatment for Keratoconus

The Cross Linking treatment used at Optimax employs a combination of Riboflavin (Vitamin B) drops and ultra violet light that reacts with the collagen fibers in the cornea, strengthening them by creating more 'cross-linking' among them – and mimicking the natural corneal stiffening which occurs with age. The resulting increased strength of the cornea inhibits the progression of keratoconus. The procedure is usually pain-free.

Corneal Cross Linking will not reverse keratoconus but in the majority of cases prevents the condition from worsening, and will, in some cases, achieve a visual improvement.


View Video


Cross-Linking Recovery

The treated eye is usually painful for 3 to 5 days, however levels of discomfort vary from patient to patient. Recovery time is about one week although most patients may find that it may be slightly longer.


Return to work

After treatment expect to take up to one week off work and for some patients who experience complications this could be longer. You will not be able to drive for at least a week.


Light sensitivity

After treatment this may be severe. It is important to rest as much as possible during these days to let the eye heal. If you partake in activities or sport, please ask your doctor when these may be resumed.


Aftercare appointments for Cross-Linking


Treatment1st Visit2nd Visit3rd Visit4th Visit5th Visit
CCL 3-4 Days bandage lens removed 1 Week Within 3 months 6 Months 9 Months and discharge with a satisfactory result


Cross-Linking Treatment
1st Visit 3-4 Days bandage lens removed
2nd Visit 1 Week
3rd Visit Within 3 months
4th Visit 6 Months
5th Visit 9 Months and discharge with a satisfactory result


Treatment Cost

The cost for this treatment is £1695 per eye, different treatment payment methods and easy payment plans are available at Optimax.

Find out more about Cross Linking and treatment for Keratoconus


To discuss treatment or to book a consultation call our Customer Services Team today on 0800 093 1110. Consultations are free of charge. Corneal cross-linking is currently performed at Optimax London