Cornea is the outermost clear part of the eye. Lids offer it protection. In order to see the world, the cornea has to be uncovered. It is exposed to the elements of nature. There is potential for a lot of damage. Hence the cornea is supplied with a lot of nerve endings. These corneal nerves can be activates before any permanent damage occurs. The top layer of the cornea is called the epithelium. The nerve endings lie below this layer. This area has the highest nerve endings per millimeter in the entire body
Now when we perform corneal cross linking we have to push riboflavin and UV radiation below the epithelium. So we have to traumatize and even remove this layer. This stimulates the corneal nerves. That can cause pain.
Fear is of the unknown. Ancient people were sacred of lightening as they did not know the cause. Knowledge and awareness decreases fear. So at our Keratoconus center we invest time in explaining each step of the procedure. We also diligently go over risks and benefits and consent forms. This allows most doubts and fears to be removed. We also offer communication with previous patients who underwent Collagen cross linking for Keratoconus. This can be by either reading written accounts, watching videos or personal interaction.
A multitude of methods are used to make it almost an enjoyable experience. We play the music of your choice to relax you. Further relaxation is achieved with yogic deep breathing. The staff talks with you and instills pain free drops.
A bandage contact lens is inserted. This prevents the lid from irritating the surface of the cornea. Dark glasses and protective shields are also given for your comfort. Specially formulated drops that prevent pain are dispensed to take home. These can be put as needed. Pills, which decrease pain or analgesics, may be prescribed. We also keep in close communication after you go home. We call to confirm you are fine. You also get the cell phone number of the doctor in case you do need to reach him.
Each Keratoconus center can be different. We want to make sure your experience is pain free and pleasant. So contact us and set up a consultation to meet our Keratoconus expert