Keratoconus and corneal ectasia (thinning) are conditions where the cornea bulges and becomes ‘cone’ shaped. This results in impaired vision even with glasses. In the early stages, RPG contact lenses can be used, but if the patient is contact lens intolerant or the disease is progressive, then C3R is the treatment of choice.
C3R is a new, non surgical, non invasive treatment. It works by strengthening the cornea by cross linking its building blocks (collagen). This can arrest the progression of keratoconus & has also been reported to partially reverse the corneal steepening that has already taken place.
What can I do to help my recovery?
The success of any surgical procedure depends on the recovery just as much as the procedure.
· REST: The main thing you need to do is rest. Vision will be blurry for a while, so it’s difficult to read or watch TV. Most patients like to sleep or listen to music. Let the eye heal and don’t touch the
· AVOID INFECTION: In order to reduce the risk of infection, it is important to avoid contact with water for the first few days in particular (until your eye has healed). Your surgeon will be in the best position to advise you how long you should wait before swimming or performing heavy exercise. It is also essential to use your antibiotic drops as indicated.
· MANAGE PAIN: Especially in the first day or two, stay on top of the pain. Use eye drops and take oral analgesics as advised by your surgeon.
What can I expect after corneal cross linking?
It is really important that you understand that cross linking won’t make the vision clearer. In fact, it may be worse due to residual haze in the cornea for up to a year after treatment. Why have it then? You might ask. Good question. The fact is that corneal cross linking has been clearly shown to decrease the risk of corneal transplant. The younger you are when your keratoconus is diagnosed, the more rapidly your disease will progress and the sooner you will need a graft. Any treatment that avoids corneal transplant is good news. You’ve got to take the long term view here: vision may get temporarily worse, but it will improve slowly over the next year and – if you’ve had an effective treatment – the disease will have been halted or greatly slowed in its progression.