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Corneal Cross-Linking

What is Corneal Cross-Linking Surgery?

Patients who suffer from keratoconus, an eye condition in which the cornea (front part of your eye) thins, steepens, and gets weaker over time, may benefit from corneal cross-linking surgery. Keratoconus is a condition which causes weakening and bulging of the cornea that results in the formation of a cone shape that will distort your vision. Keratoconus is a progressive disease and severe cases can only be treated with a cornea transplant surgery because glasses and contacts will no longer provide clear vision. The cornea cross-linking procedure can prevent progression, but it cannot reverse any changes that have already occurred. Therefore, it is important for your eye doctor to catch this diagnosis early so that it can be treated prior to severe changes have occurred.

The cross-linking procedure is designed to strengthen your cornea so that it will not continue to thin and steepen. During the procedure, Dr. Salisbury uses the combination of Riboflovan eye drops and ultraviolet (UV) light to strengthen the cornea by creating extra bonds that act as support beams between the collagen fibers throughout the cornea.

Corneal cross-linking is the only option that can stop progressive keratoconus. If performed early enough, it may help you avoid a corneal transplant. This procedure is covered by most medical insurance plans.

What to Expect

Dr. Salisbury performs the corneal cross-linking procedure in his office. You should not feel any pain during the procedure because your eyes will be anesthetized using numbing drops. The surgery takes about 60-90 minutes from start to finish.


After the surgery, you may experience a few days of discomfort. If you do, Dr. Salisbury can provide medication to relieve the pain if needed. You will also have a bandage contact lens in your eye to help the healing process and to prevent severe discomfort. You may also need to wear sunglasses to reduce light sensitivity immediately following the surgery. Your vision may be less clear for about one to three months after the surgery. While the goal of cross-linking is to slow your disease and prevent future vision problems, in some cases, your eyesight may improve over time.


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