What Is Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking?

Corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) uses ultraviolet (UV) light and vitamin B2 eye drops to strengthen the chemical bonds in the cornea.

The goal of the treatment is to halt progressive and irregular changes in the shape of the cornea known as ectasia. Creating new collagen cross links helps strengthen the cornea.

CXL is a much-needed way to treat keratoconus, especially in people with developmental delays, to avoid:

  • Visual disability and decreased quality of life.
  • Hydrops and scarring.
  • Corneal transplant surgery.

Younger patients and those who have developmental delays may undergo general anesthesia for the cross-linking procedure. Once the patient is asleep, we can do both corneal topography studies and pachynetry when they are lying down (supine) using specialized equipment.

Corneal topography is a procedure that maps the surface of the cornea, similar to making a contour map of land. The purpose of corneal topography is to create a detailed description of the cornea to aid our specialists in diagnosis and treatment. Corneal pachymetry measures the thickness of the cornea. Pachymetry is necessary to ensure that the collagen corneal cross-linking procedure is safe to perform on the patient.

Contact Us About Collagen Cross-Linking Treatment

UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh offers CXL treatment at our Center for Collagen Cross-Linking at our Lawrenceville campus.