What is refractive laser cross-linking?

  • By Joanne Goh
  • October 28, 2019
  • 196 Views

What is refractive laser cross-linking?

Corneal Laser Resurfacing Combined with Cross-Linking (CXL)

In laser refractive cross-linking, a defined amount of wavefront guided custom laser treatment is performed to re-shape your cornea, which is then locked in with corneal cross-linking to preserve this new shape. This treatment aims to flatten the cone, improve the overall shape of your cornea and stop the progression of your keratoconus. This results in sharper vision, often accompanied by a reduced astigmatism correction in your glasses or contact lenses.

This treatment does not aim to fully correct your spectacle prescription, as doing so would remove too much corneal tissue which may weaken the cornea. The goal of this treatment is to optimise the shape of the cornea and reduce the optical aberrations inherent in keratoconic corneas. This shape optimisation typically produces a two line improvement in spectacle corrected vision as well as an improved prescription that is better tolerated in glasses and contact lenses. Patients are typically more shortsighted after treatment but vision is sharper when corrected with glasses or contact lenses. If you have very mild keratoconus, this treatment may even improve your vision sufficiently to reduce your dependence on glasses or contact lenses.

Patients must meet strict treatment criteria to qualify for this treatment. The amount of re-shaping that can be achieved will depend on your initial corneal thickness which will be assessed at your consultation

Corneal shape after (left) and before (right) treatment

Corneal shape after (left) and before (right) treatment

Following laser resurfacing, the cornea has a more regular, normal shape compared to the cornea before treatment, which shows inferior steepening typical in keratoconus.

For more information, or to book an appointment, please visit our practice locations page to find a location near you. Dr Goh consults across Melbourne in Mt Waverley, St Kilda Road and Bellfield.