Corneal Cross Linking (CXL)
Cure for Keratocons – A new ray of Hope
Keratoconus is a disease of the cornea where there is structural abnormality. The fibers in this clear part of the eye are not able to withstand the pressure from inside the eye. The weakened cornea is pushed forward and than pulled downward by gravity. The center part from where we see is pushed out farthest giving it a conical shape. The covering of this thin part, the epithelium is also very thin. These anatomical eccentricities cause physiological and optical aberrations leading to poor sight.
If we could reestablish the structure of the cornea it would lead to restoring of the vision of the eye. This implies regenerating the corneal fibers using stem cells. Investigation is underway for this holy grail in the cure for keratoconus. Research is also being conducted to prevent onset of keratoconus. Scientists are identifying the genes responsible for the condition. They would than develop gene therapy to alter expression of the problematic genes.
These futuristic scenarios are good and rosy. This vision of keratoconus free world drives the inventors to work hard. Lets not lull you into inaction while waiting for these developments which may be decades or even centuries away. Currently the cure for keratoconus is corneal cross linking.
There are various names assigned to this treatment. Some call it CXl, others label it as cornea cross linkage, corneal cross linking, cornea cross connections, corneal collagen cross linkage – Riboflavin (C3R). More important than what it is called is how it works.
CXL stiffens the weak cornea and imparts strength to it. This fortified cornea is able to withstand the pressure of the eye and thus halts the progression of keratoconus. The treated stiffer cornea also flattens improving the vision.