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Keratoconus and cornea ectasia are non-inflammatory eye conditions in which the typically round dome-shaped cornea progressively thins and weakens. When the cornea thins, it changes shape to develop a cone-like bulge and this causes the development of optical irregularities. The result can be significant visual impairment. 

Dr. Olivia Dryjski and the team at Chesapeake Eye Care and Laser Center have treatment options available, including iLink™ corneal cross-linking. Cross-linking may stop the bulging from worsening and thereby reduce the need for a corneal transplant in the future.

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What are the symptoms of Keratoconus?

Keratoconus typically first appears in individuals who are in their late teens or early twenties, and may progress for 10-20 years and then slow or stabilize. Each eye may be affected differently. In the early stages of keratoconus, people might experience:

  • Slight blurring of vision
  • Distortion of vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light

The cornea is responsible for focusing most of the light that comes into the eye. Therefore, abnormalities of the cornea, such as keratoconus, can have a major impact on how an individual sees the world, making simple tasks such as driving a car or reading a book very difficult.1

Keratoconus:

  • Can result in significant vision loss
  • May lead to corneal transplant in severe cases
  • Affects both males and females
  • Affects all ethnicities
  • 10% of people with KC have affected relatives
  • People with Down syndrome are 20 times more likely to be affected

You can find more information from the National Keratoconus Foundation at www.NKCF.org.

1. National Keratoconus Foundation

iLink™ corneal cross-linking to treat Keratoconus

iLink™ corneal cross-linking is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that combines the use of ultraviolet light and specially formulated eye drops to stiffen and strengthen corneas that have been weakened by disease or refractive surgery. Cross-linking is considered the standard of care around the world for progressive keratoconus and corneal ectasia following refractive surgery.2

Is iLink™ Covered by Insurance?

The medical necessity of iLink™ has become widely recognized. As a result, commercial insurance coverage for the procedure is now over 95% in the United States.

Corneal Cross-Linking3

  • Creates new corneal collagen cross-links
  • Results in a shortening and thickening of the collagen fibrils
  • Leads to the stiffening of the cornea

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Riboflavin

Under the conditions used for iLink™ corneal cross-linking, specially formulated pharmaceutical-strength riboflavin eye drops called Photrexa® (riboflavin 5’-phosphate ophthalmic solution) and Photrexa® Viscous (riboflavin 5’-phosphate in 20% dextran ophthalmic solution) help enable the cross-linking reaction.

Ultraviolet Light (UV)

iLink™ corneal cross-linking applies an artificial source of ultraviolet light from a machine called the KXL System once the cornea has been soaked in the Photrexa® and Photrexa® Viscous eye drops. This process works to stiffen the cornea by increasing the number of molecular bonds, or cross-links, in the collagen.

Combining Riboflavin and UV Light

Using Photrexa® and Photrexa® Viscous riboflavin eye drops, combined with ultraviolet light from the KXL system, the iLink™ procedure stiffens and strengthens the cornea to slow or halt progressive keratoconus.

Is Cross-Linking Right for Me?

Patients who have been diagnosed with progressive keratoconus or corneal ectasia following refractive surgery should ask their doctor about iLink™ corneal cross-linking.

Our practice is proud to offer patients the first and only FDA-approved therapeutic solution for the treatment of progressive keratoconus. Now, patients who once had little to no therapeutic option to treat keratoconus have the opportunity to slow or halt the progression of this sight-threatening disease.

For more information about the iLink™ procedure for the treatment of keratoconus and corneal ectasia following refractive surgery, visit livingwithkeratoconus.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to access the FAQs about iLink™ corneal cross-linking

2. Gomes JAP, Tan D, Rapuano CJ, et al. Global consensus on keratoconus and ectatic diseases. Cornea. 2015;34(4):359-369.

3. Beshwati IM, O’Donnell C, Radhakrishnan H. Biomechanical properties of corneal tissue after ultraviolet-A-riboflavin crosslinking. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2013;39(3):451-462.

Why Choose Chesapeake Eye Care for Your Keratoconus Treatment?

Dr. Olivia Dryjski is a board-certified ophthalmologist at Chesapeake Eye Care and Laser Center. Specializing in laser cataract surgery, refractive surgery, dry eye and cornea, Dr. Dryjski is trained on the latest techniques and treatments for cornea diseases including corneal cross linking and Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK) – the newest type of corneal transplant.

Dr. Dryjski is one of the few doctors in our area who specializes in iLink™ corneal cross-linking and she will work closely with you to figure out the best plan for your Keratoconus treatment.

Interested in learning more? Schedule your appointment today!

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