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What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye disorder characterized by the thinning and bulging of the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye. This structural change causes the cornea to gradually take on a conical shape instead of its normal rounded curvature. As a result, light entering the eye is refracted unevenly, leading to distorted vision.

What are the symptoms of Keratoconus?

Common symptoms include:

  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Constant need for upgrading eyeglasses or contact lens prescriptions
  • Halos or ghosting around lights
  • Eye irritation and discomfort
Woman rubbing her eyes, with black hair and a black tank top.

How is it diagnosed?

Keratoconus is typically diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam, including corneal topography and tomography, which can accurately map the corneal shape. Early signs may be detected during routine eye exams through changes in prescription or visual disturbances.

What causes Keratoconus?

The precise cause of Keratoconus remains uncertain, but it is thought to stem from a blend of genetic and environmental elements. Genetics plays a significant role, as Keratoconus often runs in families. Excessive eye rubbing, allergies, and chronic eye irritation may contribute to its progression.

What are the treatment options?

Eyeglasses or Contact Lenses

In the early phase of development, corrective lenses can provide adequate visual correction.

Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) Contact Lenses

For more advanced cases, RGP lenses may be prescribed, as they provide better corneal support and vision improvement.

Corneal Cross-Linking (CXL)

This innovative procedure aims to cease the progression of Keratoconus by strengthening the corneal tissue.

What is iLink Corneal Cross-Linking?

iLink Corneal Cross-Linking, or simply CXL, is an FDA-approved therapeutic procedure designed to stabilize and strengthen the cornea in patients with progressive Keratoconus. It is one of the ONLY FDA-approved cross-linking procedures available in the United States. This non-invasive treatment involves applying specialized riboflavin (Vitamin B2) eye drops to the cornea and exposing it to ultraviolet (UV) light. This combination creates new bonds within the corneal collagen fibers, enhancing corneal stability and potentially preventing further thinning.

Corneal Cross-Linking FAQ

Is it FDA-approved?

Yes, iLink Corneal Cross-Linking is FDA-approved and considered a safe and effective treatment for patients who are struggling with progressive Keratoconus.

What is Photrexa?

Photrexa is a prescription eye drop solution that contains riboflavin (Vitamin B2). It plays a crucial role in the iLink Corneal Cross-Linking procedure by enhancing the effectiveness of UV light in strengthening the corneal collagen.

How long will the procedure last?

The procedure itself typically takes around 30 minutes to an hour, with most of the time dedicated to the eye drops and UV light exposure. However, the results can provide long-term stability for the cornea.

Is it safe?

iLink Corneal Cross-Linking is considered a safe procedure with minimal risks. The use of FDA-approved equipment and standardized protocols has contributed to its safety and efficacy.

Is it effective?

Yes, the procedure is an effective treatment for Keratoconus. However, it is important for patients to keep in mind that iLink cross-linking cannot reverse KC; it can only halt its progression. For this reason, it is vital that patients receive a diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible.

Post-operative Considerations


Patients may experience mild discomfort or a gritty sensation in the eyes for a few days following the procedure. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate any pain.

Healing Time

The healing process varies from person to person. Most patients are able to get back to their regular routines within a week to a few weeks after the procedure.

Scleral Lenses

In some cases, scleral lenses may be recommended to provide improved vision and comfort for those with Keratoconus.

Success Rate

iLink Corneal Cross-Linking has shown a high success rate in stabilizing the progression of Keratoconus. However, individual results may vary.

Office Visits

Patients will have to come in for follow-up appointments to monitor their progress and ensure proper healing.

How does iLink Corneal Cross-linking work?

During the iLink Corneal Cross-Linking procedure:

  • The eye is numbed with anesthetic drops for comfort.
  • The cornea's surface layer (epithelium) is gently removed.
  • Riboflavin (Photrexa) eye drops are applied to the cornea.
  • The eye is exposed to UV-A light for a specified duration.
  • The new bonds formed within the corneal collagen enhance its stability.

Happy woman who received Visian ICL

Are there any risks involved?

While iLink Corneal Cross-Linking is considered safe, there may be minimal risks, including infection or corneal haze. These risks are rare and are typically manageable with proper post-operative care.

How should the eyes be cared for following treatment?

Patients should follow their ophthalmologist's post-operative care instructions carefully. This may include using prescribed eye drops, avoiding strenuous activities, and protecting the eyes from excessive UV exposure.

Is the treatment covered by insurance?

Insurance coverage for iLink Corneal Cross-Linking varies, so patients should check with their insurance providers to determine if the procedure is covered under their plan.

Beverly Hills Ophthalmology

Why choose the Beverly Hills Institute of Ophthalmology?

At the Beverly Hills Institute of Ophthalmology, patients can rely on our team of highly skilled experts to address all of their eye concerns. Our experienced ophthalmologists, including Dr. A. James Khodabakhsh, MD, Dr. Billy Pan, MD, and Dr. Jillian K. Chong, MD, are dedicated to providing top-notch care and innovative treatments to ensure the best possible outcomes for your eye health. Reach out to our office today to learn more about how iLink Corneal Cross-Linking can help you. 

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