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Corneal Collagen Cross-linking

The cornea division at the Wilmer Eye Institute is one the very first ophthalmology centers in the United States to offer corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL). The minimally-invasive, advanced therapy slows down or stops the progression of  the corneal deformation of keratoconus and corneal ecstasia.

About the Treatment

This one-time, in-office procedure involves three steps. The ophthalmologist will:

  • numb your eye with drops and then gently remove part of the outer layer of your cornea.
  • put special vitamin drops (riboflavin) on your eye many times over 30 minutes or more.
  • shine a special ultraviolet light on your eye for another 30 minutes and keep adding drops.

The vitamin drops and ultraviolet light work together to make collagen bonds in the cornea stronger, allowing it to become stiffer and usually stop bulging out.

Our CXL Team

Photo of Dr. Esen Akpek, M.D.

Akpek, Esen, M.D.

Professor of Ophthalmology
Associate Professor of Medicine
Bendann Family Professor of Ophthalmology
Director of Ocular Surface Disease and Dry Eye Clinic
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Cataracts, Cornea Transplant, Cornea/Anterior Segment Disease, Corneal Ulcer, Dry Eyes, Ophthalmology, Sjogren's Syndrome
 
Photo of Dr. Ashley Behrens, M.D.

Behrens, Ashley, M.D.

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
Chief, Division of Comprehensive Ophthalmology
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Cataracts, Cornea/Anterior Segment Disease, Corneal Diseases, Corneal Dystrophies, External Diseases of the Eye, Fuchs Dystrophy of the Cornea, Laser Surgery, Ophthalmology, Refractive Surgery
 
Photo of Dr. Kraig Scot Bower, M.D.

Bower, Kraig Scot, M.D.

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Cornea/Anterior Segment Disease, Ophthalmology, Refractive Surgery
 
Photo of Dr. Yassine Jamil Daoud, M.D.

Daoud, Yassine Jamil, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Cataracts, Cornea/Anterior Segment Disease, Corneal Diseases, Eye Conditions, Ophthalmology, Refractive Surgery
 
Photo of Dr. Albert Suk Jun, M.D., Ph.D.

Jun, Albert Suk, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Ophthalmology
Chief, Division of Cornea, Cataract and External Eye Diseases
Maurice E. Langham, Ph.D., Professor of Ophthalmology
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Cataract Surgery, Cataracts, Cornea Transplant, Corneal Diseases, Corneal Dystrophies, External Diseases of the Eye, Eye Conditions, Fuchs Dystrophy of the Cornea, Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy, Keratoconus, Ophthalmology, Refractive Surgery
 
Photo of Dr. Christina Rapp Prescott, M.D., Ph.D.

Prescott, Christina Rapp, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Cataract Surgery, Cataracts, Cornea Transplant, Corneal Diseases, Corneal Dystrophies, Keratoconus, Laser Therapy, Ophthalmology, Pediatric Corneal Surgery, Refractive Surgery
 
Photo of Dr. Uri Simcha Soiberman, M.D.

Soiberman, Uri Simcha, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Cataract Surgery, Cataracts, Comprehensive Medical and Surgical Ophthalmology, Cornea/Anterior Segment Disease, Corneal Diseases, Corneal Dystrophies, Corneal Ulcer, External Diseases of the Eye, Fuchs Dystrophy of the Cornea, Keratoconus, Ophthalmology, Refractive Surgery
 
Photo of Dr. Divya Srikumaran, M.D.

Srikumaran, Divya, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
Chief, Wilmer Eye Institute - Odenton
Director, Ophthalmology Residency Program
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Cornea/Anterior Segment Disease, Corneal Diseases, External Diseases of the Eye, Ophthalmology, Refractive Surgery
 
Photo of Dr. Meraf Amde Wolle, M.D., M.P.H.

Wolle, Meraf Amde, M.D., M.P.H.

Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Cataract Surgery, Cataracts, Cornea Transplant, Cornea/Anterior Segment Disease, Corneal Diseases, Corneal Dystrophies, Corneal Ulcer, Dry Eyes, Fuchs Dystrophy of the Cornea, Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy, Keratoconus, Ophthalmology, Refractive Errors, Refractive Surgery
 
Photo of Dr. Samuel Chi-Hung Yiu, M.D., M.S., Ph.D.

Yiu, Samuel Chi-Hung, M.D., M.S., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Ophthalmology
Expertise, Disease and Conditions: Cataracts, Corneal Diseases, Dry Eyes, Ophthalmology, Refractive Surgery
 

 

Instructions for Your Corneal Cross-linking Treatment

Please note the following in preparation for your procedure:

  • Plan to be at the center for approximately 2 hours.
  • Your eye drop prescription will be emailed to your local pharmacy or given to you to be filled. Please bring these eye drops with you on the day of your treatment.
  • Arrange to have someone take you home on the day of the treatment, and to the post-treatment appointment the following day. Do not plan to drive for approximately one week after treatment.
  • Do not wear your contact lenses for 2 weeks prior to your procedure.
  • Do not wear any eye make-up, perfumes or after-shave lotion on the day of your procedure; deodorant is fine.
  • You may eat a light meal and fluids before your procedure. Keep in mind that your treatment will take at least one hour.
  • Vitamin C is not allowed before or after surgery. Keep in mind that vitamin C is abundant in orange juice.
  • Feel free to bring an audio player and headphones to listen to while you are being treated.
  • We recommend that young children should not accompany you on the day of treatment.
  • Do not plan on going on vacation or flying during the month after your procedure. You will not be able to go to swimming pools for a month, and we recommend no water exposure in the first week after surgery. We also recommend minimizing sun exposure in the first month after surgery.
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