What Is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus, often referred to as “KC,” is a non-inflammatory eye condition in which the typically round dome-shaped cornea progressively thins and weakens, causing the development of a cone-like bulge and optical irregularity of the cornea. This causes “static” in your vision and can result in significant visual impairment.  

What is Corneal Cross-Linking?

Cross-linking is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure for the treatment of progressive keratoconus. iLink FDA-approved cross-linking combines the use of prescription eye drops, Photrexa® Viscous (riboflavin 5’-phosphate in 20% dextran ophthalmic solution), Photrexa®(riboflavin 5’-phosphate ophthalmic solution), and ultra-violet A (UVA) light from the KXL® system to create new collagen cross-links and leads to the stiffening of the cornea. The goal of the procedure is to stiffen the cornea to slow or prevent further progression of the condition and preserve your vision.


What is riboflavin?

Under the conditions used for iLink™ corneal cross-linking, specially formulated pharmaceutical- strength riboflavin eye drops called Photrexa® and Photrexa® Viscous enable the cross-

linking reaction to help slow or stop keratoconus from progressing.

What is UV light?

iLink™ corneal cross-linking applies an artificial source of UV light from a machine called the KXL® System once the cornea has been soaked in the Photrexa® and Photrexa® Viscous eye drops. This process works to stiffen the cornea by increasing the number of molecular bonds, or cross-links, in the collagen.


Does iLink™ corneal cross-linking require removal of the epithelium?

Yes, your doctor will apply topical anesthesia to numb the eye prior to the removal of the epithelium. This process helps prepare your eye so that the drug can penetrate the tissue of the cornea to have an effective iLink™ procedure. Today, this is the only cross-linking procedure deemed safe and effective by the United States FDA.

Am I awake during the procedure?

Yes, typically you will be awake during the treatment. You may be given relaxing medication and numbing anesthetic drops.


How long does the procedure take?

The actual procedure takes about an hour, but you will be at the office for approximately 2 hours to allow sufficient time for preparation and recovery before you return to the comfort of your own home.


What can I expect during the procedure?

•    After numbing drops are applied, the epithelium (the thin layer on the surface of the cornea) is gently removed

•    Photrexa® Viscous eye drops will be applied to the cornea for at least 30 minutes

•    Depending on the thickness of your cornea, Photrexa® drops may also be required

•    The cornea is then exposed to UV light for 30 minutes while additional Photrexa® Viscous drops are applied


What can I expect after the procedure? 

•    You should not rub your eyes for the first 5 days after the procedure

•    You may notice a sensitivity to light and an uncomfortable sensation in the treated eye. Sunglasses may help with light sensitivity

•    If you experience severe pain in the eye or any sudden decrease in vision, you should contact your physician immediately

•    If your bandage contact lens from the day of treatment falls out or becomes dislodged, you should not replace it. Contact your physician immediately


Does it hurt?

There is some discomfort during immediate recovery but usually not during the treatment. Immediately following treatment, a bandage contact lens is placed on the surface of the eye to protect the newly treated area. After the numbing drops wear off, there is some discomfort, often described as a gritty, burning sensation managed with acetaminophen and artificial tears. If pain is severe, oral narcotic medications may be prescribed.

Can anyone tell by my appearance that I have had iLink™ cross-linking?

No. There is no change in the appearance of your eyes following an iLink™ procedure.

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