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Patient Frequently Asked Questions

Does 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 to prepare your eye so that the drug can penetrate the tissue of the cornea to have an effective cross-linking procedure.


Am I awake during the procedure?

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


How long does the treatment take?

The actual procedure takes about an hour, but you will be at the office for approximately two 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 expect after the procedure?

  • You should not rub your eyes for the first five days after the procedure.
  • You may notice sensitivity to light and have a foreign body sensation. You may also experience discomfort in the treated eye and 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 and 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 have worn off, there is some discomfort, often described as a gritty, burning sensation managed with pain medication and artificial tears.


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

No, there is no change in the appearance of your eyes following cross-linking.


Is cross-linking right for me?

Patients over the age of 14 who have been diagnosed with progressive keratoconus or corneal ectasia following refractive surgery may be candidates for this procedure.


Will I need to be out of my contact lenses for this process?

Yes. Typically, doctors ask their patients to stop wearing contact lenses prior to surgery for up to a period of several weeks. Once treated, patients may not be allowed back into contact lenses for 1 month.


How much does corneal cross-linking cost?

Please contact our practice for specific pricing information. We want you to be aware that this procedure is not covered by most insurance providers.