3. First patient receives corneal cross-linking procedure to prevent blindness
A person in Los Angeles has become the first person to receive an FDA-approved corneal cross-linking procedure that helps prevent blindness as a result of keratoconus. The procedure took place at the University of Southern California Roski Eye Institute.
Corneal cross-linking is a minimally-invasive procedure that can be done in an outpatient setting, according to a March 6 press release. An ophthalmologist removes the tissues on the outer layer of the cornea and uses UV A-light irradiation and applies vitamin B12 eye drops to stabilize the cornea.
Keratoconus is the thinning of the cornea in the eye that creates warping and building that causes visual distortion. It is one of the leading causes of visual impairment in children and adolescents.
Prior to this treatment, keratoconus could only be treated with advanced contact lenses or in more severe cases, corneal transplants. The procedure stops the progression of keratoconus, but doesn’t cure it entirely. It is meant to help patients keep their sight and in some cases, reverse any damage that has been done to the cornea.