Corneal Cross-Linking | MedStar Health

Corneal cross-linking to treat progressive keratoconus and other corneal conditions

Cornea specialists at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital have been managing progression of the corneal condition keratoconus in patients for decades. Now MedStar Georgetown is the first hospital in D.C. to offer corneal cross-linking, the first—and only— FDA-approved treatment for progressive keratoconus.

What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a rare eye condition in which the cornea weakens and thins over time, creating a cone-like bulge that impairs vision. It can result in significant loss of vision and may, in some cases, lead to corneal transplant. It often affects those in their late teens or early twenties.

Now, with corneal cross-linking, a minimally invasive treatment is available at MedStar Georgetown to stop the progression of the disease.

How corneal cross-linking works

Corneal cross-linking stiffens corneas that have been compromised by disease. During the procedure, the cornea specialist will:

  • Apply numbing drops to the eye, so the procedure is pain-free
  • Add a series of riboflavin (vitamin B2) drops, which are absorbed for 30 minutes
  • Expose the cornea to UV light, which reacts with the riboflavin to strengthen the bonds of the cornea and freeze it in position, halting the damage

After the one-time treatment, patients wear a protective contact lens for 4-5 days. The goal of treatment is to stop the worsening of the disease; some patients may even notice an improvement in vision over time.

Corneal cross-linking has also been FDA-approved to treat ectasia, a rare condition that can occur after lasik surgery.

Patient story

New Sight-Saving System at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

"I saw a difference right away—my vision was less blurry. After a couple of months, no double vision."
Anthony Phillips

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An experienced specialty team with the latest treatment options

Corneal cross-linking at MedStar Georgetown is performed by our board certified ophthalmologists who specialize exclusively in treating diseases of the cornea. With comprehensive understanding of corneal conditions and experience performing similar procedures, MedStar Georgetown physicians are thrilled to bring corneal cross-linking treatment to patients.

Comprehensive treatment is available in the Department of Ophthalmology, with expert fitting for and access to contact lenses for cross-linking patients to use postoperatively.

MedStar Georgetown accepts most insurance plans that cover the Corneal Cross-linking procedure to treat progressive Keratoconus and other corneal conditions.