In case of cornea affected by keratoconus at early stages, when the vision condition is not seriously compromised yet, it is possible to carry out a new laser treatment called cross-linking.
The treatment consists in the application of a solution called Riboflavin on the eye. The following illumination with UV-A light (370nm), emitted by a specific device, activates oxygen free radicals that produce a change in the collagen structure. This change strengthens the corneal tissue, preventing it from further deformations. The treatment is useful to stop worsening in the patient conditions.
The FIRST STEP, called imbibition, can be performed with two different techniques:
- traditional procedure: the corneal epithelium is removed with the help of a specific minimallyinvasive instrument used in microsurgery. Once applied on the cornea, Riboflavin is absorbed. Contact lenses are then applied.
- femtosecond laser procedure: the femtosecond laser prevents from removing the corneal epithelium before the application of the Riboflavin.
The SECOND STEP, called activation, consists in the illumination of the Riboflavin with a low-intensity ultraviolet light (UV-A).
In case of the traditional procedure the patient may feel a moderate pain for 1-2 days. After the third day the contact lenses will be removed.
In case of surgery with the femtosecond laser the post-operative phase is completely painless and it is not necessary to apply contact lenses.