Keratoconus afflicts younger people. Corneal cross linking is an option to prevent keratoconus eye disease from getting worse. The procedure for corneal cross linking is simple. First the epithelium or the top layer is modulated. It may be totally removed for a circumference of 9 mm. The epithelium may be removed by a variety of methods. Diluted ethyl alcohol is usually employed. Laser epithelium removal is another choice. It may also help in flattening the cone. These methods where epithelium or the top layer of the cornea is totally removed is called epithelium off CXL or epi off cxl. If the epithelium is only agitated but not removed than it is called epi on cxl.
Epi off recovery requires the epithelium to regenerate. This is like PRK. It takes 48 to 72 hours for the epithelium to grow back and cover the area from which it had been removed. During this time there can be pain and photophobia. This is overcome by employing various painkilling drops. As the cornea in keratoconus patients is not normal, the healing process can be delayed. It is important the doctor keeps a close watch on the healing eye. There is a possibility of contracting infection. Vision can be blurry for a few days to weeks. Therefore it is wise only to do one eye at a time.
Epi on cxl or C3R is not as effective as epi off. Some keratoconus surgeons prefer this method as the healing is quicker. Few patients may be candidates to have both eyes cross linked at the same time. The agitated epithelium may die and fall off leading to corneal abrasion. This may cause pain and blurry vision.
Cornea cross linkage is an important procedure to preserve sight. It is better to allocate time to recover from this vision preserving procedure. It is best to do while on vacation or on holiday. Avoid undergoing this intervention during exams or around important meetings or deadlines.
I am tired of wearing glasses and contacts. My vision is affecting my work. I am worried I may loose vision. I want to preserve my precious vision!