Cornea Surgery

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Macro eye photo. Keratoconus - eye disease, thinning of the cornea in the form of a cone. The cornea plastic.

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye condition that causes the cornea, the usually round and dome-shaped front “window” that focuses light and images that come into the eye, to gradually become thinner over time.

This weakens the cornea, changing its shape, which can lead to blurry and distorted vision. This can substantially impact how the world is experienced, making even the simplest tasks, like reading a book or driving to work, far more difficult. Some with keratoconus may experience significant vision loss and require a corneal transplant if the condition is left untreated.

What are the Symptoms of Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is often seen in patients in their teens or early twenties. However, it can also be diagnosed in older adults as well. Each eye can be affected differently.

Symptoms of keratoconus in its early stages may include:

What is iLink Corneal Cross-Linking?

iLink corneal cross-linking is the only FDA-approved cross-linking procedure for treating progressive keratoconus. Dr. Lubeck, Dr. Lopez, Dr Ali, and Dr Bohm at Arbor Centers for EyeCare perform iLink corneal cross-linking on patients with progressive keratoconus.

iLink corneal cross-linking is a 60-minute, minimally invasive outpatient procedure that uses ultraviolet light and riboflavin eye drops to strengthen and stabilize the cornea. It is highly recommended for treating patients with progressive keratoconus or corneal thinning from other causes.

This allows you to be fitted for glasses or contact lenses that improve your vision and hopefully eliminate the need for more invasive surgical procedures.

How Does Corneal Cross-Linking Work?

iLink corneal cross-linking stabilizes the cornea to halt the progression of keratoconus. It works by creating new bonds and cross-links of the collagen fibers in the cornea. The combination of the riboflavin eye drops and UV light creates cross-links which strengthens and stiffens the cornea, preventing further progression.

During the first phase of the treatment, riboflavin eye drops called Photrexa are applied to the cornea. Precisely controlled ultraviolet light is then applied using a machine called the KXL system.

What Can I Expect During the Procedure?

During the iLink corneal cross-linking procedure, several numbing eye drops will first be applied. Next, the epithelium, the thin layer on the cornea’s surface, will be removed.

Photrexa eye drops will then be applied to your cornea for at least thirty minutes. This ensures that the riboflavin concentration in the cornea reaches a level for maximum effectiveness.

During the final phase of the treatment, ultraviolet light is applied to the cornea for 30 minutes. Once completed, a protective temporary contact lens is placed, and eyedrops are applied.

Does Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking Improve Your Vision?

Yes, corneal collagen crosslinking can improve your vision by improving the shape of the cornea. Patients who may experience the most improvement in vision are usually older, in their 50s or 60s, and have keratoconus. You may experience blurry vision and sensitivity to light at first, but your vision will return and possibly improve over time.

What Do I Need to Know After iLink Corneal-Crosslinking?

After iLink corneal cross-linking, your eye may feel sensitive or uncomfortable for a few days. Using your drops and wearing sunglasses may help you feel more comfortable. It is best not to rub the eye. If you feel severe pain in your eye or notice a significant decrease in vision, let your eye doctor know.

If the bandage contact moves out of position or falls out of your eye, contact your eye doctor as soon as possible. Don’t try to move it back into your eye yourself.

Am I a Good Candidate for iLink Corneal Cross-Linking?

iLink corneal cross-linking is the only FDA-approved for treating progressive keratoconus or corneal ectasia following refractive surgery. Talk to your eye doctor at Arbor Centers for EyeCare to determine if you are a candidate for this procedure!

Is iLink Corneal Cross-Linking Covered By Insurance?

iLink corneal cross-linking has 95% commercial medical insurance coverage across the country. The medical need for this procedure has been demonstrated in patients with progressive keratoconus. Talk to your ophthalmologist or your insurance carrier for more information.

Are you interested in corneal collagen crosslinking? Learn more about this procedure and if you’re a good candidate by contacting us today!

What is a Cornea Transplant?

A Cornea transplant is a surgical procedure that replaces part of the cornea with corneal tissue from a donor. It is often used to restore vision to those with a cornea condition or a damaged cornea. A cornea transplant can also relieve pain and symptoms or signs associated with cornea diseases.

How Long Does it Take to Recover From a Corneal Transplant?

The recovery process for a corneal transplant can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a year. Following your cornea transplant, you can expect to treat your eyes very carefully. Following your procedure, it’s important not to rub your eyes, avoid intense exercise or heavy lifting, avoid manual labor work for 3-4 months, and avoid contact sports and swimming until your doctor advises you to. You can also expect to use steroid or antibiotic eye drops daily for several months to a year.

How Serious is a Cornea Transplant?

A cornea transplant is a relatively safe procedure, however, like any surgical procedure, there is a risk of complications. There is a possibility for your body’s immune system to reject the donor’s cornea. This rejection will require immediate medical attention to either get another cornea transplant or to prescribe medication. In most cases, complications of a cornea transplant can include eye infection and a rise of pressure within the eyeball, which can lead to glaucoma or retinal problems like retinal detachment or swelling.

Who is a Candidate for a Cornea Transplant?

If you have been diagnosed with a condition affecting the cornea, you may be a candidate for a cornea transplant. It also may be time for a cornea transplant if treatments such as special glasses, contact lenses, and medications are not slowing the progression of your cornea disease.

Learn more about the cornea conditions and find out if you’re a candidate for this procedure by contacting our office today!



2640 West 183rd St
Homewood, IL 60430

Orland Park

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Orland Park, IL 60467

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2850 West 95th St, Ste 401
Evergreen Park, IL 60805

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11600 South Kedzie Ave
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Hyde Park

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Chicago, IL 60615

EyeSouth Partners Surgery Center

6311 West 95th Street
Oak Lawn, IL 60453

(866) 798-6633