MATTHEW VINCENT’S STORY
“Just an update… 3 weeks ago, both eyes had CXL epi-off at Moorfields Eye Hospital.”
CXL or collagen cross linking is a relatively new procedure aimed at halting the progression of keratoconus, speeding up the ageing process and thus avoiding a corneal graft.
Corneal cross-linking (CXL) is a treatment for patients with keratoconus which can prevent their condition getting worse. It is successful in more than 90% of cases. After treatment, you will still need to wear spectacles or contact lenses to correct your vision. Your eye will be sore for about one week after the procedure. Although vision is often hazy at first, most patients can resume contact lens wear and return to work after one week. As with all operations, there are risks: CXL is safe, but there is a small chance (about 1 in 30) of worse vision afterwards.
Day 0 – Day of Surgery
“The surgery itself was painless; it just felt very strange when they were wiping the surface of my corneas.
The journey home was the painful part. We had a 3 hour 30 min journey home and around 45 mins after the surgery, my eyes began hurting. The only way I can describe it is it felt like someone was scratching the surface of my eyes. Both eyes were swollen shut, and so my eye lids had to be forced open to put the anaesthetic drops in. All I could see was a bright white light.
As soon as I got home, I took the sleeping pill and further pain relief, and I went to sleep.”
Days 1-3 HARD WORK AND LOTS OF EYE DROPS
“This was where all the hard work was done with a lot of the drops being done hourly.
My eyes were so light sensitive that I could not open them. The cooling gel eye masks helped reduce the swelling around my eyes, and I’d put a black sleeping mask on top to reduce the light getting to my eyes. The light was immense even with a black sleeping mask over my eyes! For these 3 days I took the prescribed sleeping pills, and got a good nights sleep.
By the end of Day 3, the extreme light sensitivity was gone and I could open my eyes. I was starting to feel better.”
Days 3-5 SEEING IMPROVEMENTS
“Every hour that went by, my vision was improving. The Hyabak drops helped focus my eyes.
By the end of Day 5, I was feeling a lot better – back to normal almost.”
Day 8 – GOOD NEWS!
“We went back to Moorfields and the bandage lenses were removed. No signs of infection, and my vision was very good.
Overall, I have been pleased with the results.
Of course I am aware that I won’t know if this has halted the progression of Keratoconus for 6-12 months. For the first 3 days, I personally regretted opting to have both eyes done together, as it was quite distressing not being able to open my eyes. I was completely dependent on my family, who were working shifts, to look after me.
They all did a great job, and I am very lucky. By Day 5 – when I was feeling almost back to normal, – I was very happy that I had both eyes done together, as it’s meant it’s out of the way – and I am now enjoying my Summer!”
ACCORDING TO MOORFIELDS:
Collagen cross-linking is the only treatment currently available that appears to stop keratoconus from getting worse. Evidence from three randomised clinical trials one year after CXL showed success in halting keratoconus progression in more than 90% of treated eyes, with more than 45% of eyes also gaining an improvement in corneal shape. Longerterm results (up to five years) from a different study suggest a similarly high success rate in preventing keratoconus progression.
Vision is better after treatment than before in about 50% of eyes treated with CXL.
FIND OUT MORE: Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust City Road, London EC1V 2PD Phone: 020 7253 3411