Often, people who are diagnosed with progressive keratoconus are hearing about the condition for the first time. This can lead to many questions and concerns for individuals and their families regarding the future and available keratoconus treatment options. They may learn that keratoconus is an eye condition in which the cornea weakens and thins over time, causing a cone-like bulge and optical irregularity. The condition can progress and lead to significant visual loss, and in severe cases, the need for a corneal transplant. That’s why early detection and treatment are crucial when it comes to keratoconus.

Luckily, there is a treatment option available that is widely covered by insurance. The FDA-approved iLink® cross-linking procedure stiffens the cornea to slow or halt the progression of keratoconus and preserve vision. The video below explains more about the iLink® procedure for progressive keratoconus. We hope watching it helps you better understand your treatment journey with keratoconus!

For additional information on keratoconus and available treatment options such as iLink® for progressive keratoconus the only FDA-approved cross-linking procedure, visit our website and follow Living with KC on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Video Transcript

If you have been having troublesome vision problems that interfere with the way you see the world, your doctor may have mentioned the condition keratoconus, or KC. KC is a progressive eye disorder that usually appears in people in their teens or early twenties. KC impacts the cornea, the dome-shaped clear covering on the front of your eye that bends light so you can properly focus on images. In people with KC, the cornea weakens and thins over time causing a cone-like bulge to form. This can result in significant visual loss and, in severe cases, the need for a corneal transplant. 

The good news is that there is now a first-of-its-kind, FDA-approved therapy that can treat progressive keratoconus. It’s called iLink® corneal cross-linking and it’s widely covered by insurance. iLink® corneal cross-linking is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that uses specially formulated prescription eye drops called Photrexa® and Photrexa® Viscous, combined with ultraviolet light from the KXL® system. This combination is what helps stiffen and strengthen the cornea that has been weakened by disease. 

Overall, the goal of iLink® corneal cross-linking is to slow or halt progressive keratoconus to preserve vision. The procedure takes about an hour. Typically, you will be awake during the treatment. You will be given relaxing medication and numbing eye drops. Then the thin layer on the surface of the cornea, called the epithelium, will be gently removed. Following the procedure, the epithelium will begin to heal naturally. Photrexa® Viscous eye drops will be placed in your eye for at least 30 minutes. Depending on the thickness of your cornea, Photrexa® drops may also be required. The cornea is then exposed to ultraviolet light for another 30 minutes while additional Photrexa® Viscous drops are applied. 

After the procedure, you may experience some sensitivity to light and an uncomfortable sensation in your eye. Without treatment, keratoconus may cause your vision to deteriorate, sometimes rapidly. Cross-linking is not intended to improve your eyesight but can slow or halt the progression of keratoconus to preserve vision.

If you’ve been diagnosed with progressive KC, talk to your doctor to see if corneal cross-linking is right for you. You can find a list of doctors who are familiar with keratoconus and cross-linking at LivingwithKC.com. iLink® corneal cross-linking is the first and only therapeutic solution to receive FDA approval for the treatment of progressive keratoconus and it is widely covered by insurance. The procedure is the only therapeutic treatment available to slow or halt the progression of this sight-threatening disease. 

The most common side effects are haze, inflammation, fine white lines, disruption of surface cells, eye pain, reduced sharpness of vision, and blurred vision. Ulcerative keratitis, a potentially serious eye infection, can occur. Your doctor should monitor you for resolution of epithelial defects if they occur. These are not all the side effects of corneal cross-linking. The FDA-approved prescribing information can be found at LivingwithKC.com. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. 

Visit FDA.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088. The safety and effectiveness of corneal cross-linking has not been established in pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, patients who are less than 14 years of age, and patients 65 years of age or older. Cross-linking is only performed by specialists and the iLink® corneal cross-linking procedure from Glaukos is the only FDA-approved therapeutic solution for the treatment of progressive keratoconus. 

You can find a doctor near you through the locator tool on LivingwithKC.com.

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