Illustration of corneal cross-linking

Corneal Cross-Linking

Corneal conditions, such as keratoconus, are upsetting and can cause serious vision distortion or even permanent loss of vision.

Corneal cross-linking is a minimally invasive procedure which stops the progress of corneal diseases and offers a chance for rehabilitation.

So how can this treatment protect your vision?

Illustration of corneal cross-linking

Corneal Cross-Linking Halts Progressive Changes to Your Cornea

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Quick, Simple, Minimally Invasive

Corneal cross-linking uses a combination of riboflavin eye drops and ultraviolet light to encourage special bonds between collagen fibers and restore the integrity of the cornea.

New Opportunities for Vision Restoration

Once the changes to your cornea are stabilized, your doctor can use refractive treatments, such as rigid gas permeable contact lenses, to rehabilitate your vision and reduce distortion.

Multiple Applications for Corneal Issues

Ectasia is a condition which causes progressive changes in the shape of the cornea, distorting your vision. Corneal cross-linking treats various types of ectasia, including keratoconus and post-LASIK ectasia.

If You Are Struggling with Corneal Issues, You Are Not Alone

Before and after cross-linkingBefore and after cross-linking

I’ve Heard Cross-Linking is a New Procedure Will My Insurance Cover It?

Since corneal cross-linking received FDA approval, many insurance companies have started covering it as a treatment for keratoconus and keratectasia. Without insurance, corneal cross-linking can cost up to $2,500 to $4,000 per eye. However, corneal transplant surgery, an alternative treatment for these conditions, costs an average of $16,500.

Quick, Easy Treatment

A typical corneal cross-linking treatment lasts 30 to 60 minutes. There are two types of cross-linking: epi-off and epi-on. Epi is short for epithelium, the layer of tissue which covers your cornea. An epi-on procedure consists of several steps:

Your doctor will perform a variety of exams to determine the health of your eye and plan your treatment.

You will receive medicated drops to numb your eyes. Most doctors also provide a sedative of some kind to help you relax.

Your doctor will place riboflavin (vitamin B2) drops into your eyes. These drops help your corneal tissue absorb light.

You will lie back in a chair and look into an ultraviolet light. Since your eyes will be numb, you should not feel any pain throughout the procedure.

Some experts believe that removing the epithelium before applying drops to the eye produces more successful results. Epi-off corneal cross-linking has a longer recovery and greater degree of risk. Epi-on procedures, in contrast, cause no pain and involve a short recovery time.

Take the First Step

Corneal cross-linking is an extremely safe procedure which is approved in all 25 European Union nations and the U.S. However, there are alternatives to the treatment, including hybrid contact lenses. Most often, the recommended alternative for advanced keratoconus and similar issues is a corneal transplant, which is much more complex and carries a higher risk of complications than cross-linking.

Corneal ectasia and keratoconus are progressive corneal diseases which will continue to worsen without treatment. Corneal cross-linking is a simple, safe procedure which can stabilize your cornea and keep your vision safe. Speak to a doctor today about whether the treatment is right for you.


Sheth Horsley Eye Center

The ophthalmologists at Sheth Horsley Eye Center have been serving the community's eye care needs for over 50 years. Our doctors are members of various prestigious organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • International Society of Refractive Surgery
  • American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
  • American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin

To schedule a consultation at one of our three office locations, request an appointment online or call us at (781) 979-0960.

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