One of the many good things about Dr. Ostrovsky is she took time in advance [of the cross-linking procedure] to explain everything to John. Frequently, we deal with medical staff that don’t talk directly to John – they talk to me about him, but Dr. Ostrovsky explained everything directly to John. She prepared him for it and the day of the procedure, everything was laid out and she even played music that he liked for him to listen to.” 

– Mark Cronin, John’s father

When John was in middle school, he began experiencing issues with his vision, such as difficulty seeing the board during class. After visiting an ophthalmologist to get to the bottom of his symptoms, John and his family soon learned he was living with progressive keratoconus. John, who has Down syndrome, and his family were shocked to find out that an estimated 5-30% of people with Down syndrome are affected by keratoconus[1][2]. Despite receiving this diagnosis, John was not provided with many treatment options, aside from prescription lenses or a corneal transplant, so his family was concerned about John’s condition progressing further. 

Despite his vision challenges, John was not willing to give up his dream of starting his own business as a sock entrepreneur. Together John and his father, Mark, launched John’s Crazy Socks, a social enterprise inspired by John’s love of colorful and fun socks with a mission to make people happy, while also raising money for important causes. However, during this exciting time in his life, his vision issues persisted.

A few years later, John and his family came across Dr. Ann Ostrovksy, Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at New York University Medical Center and Director of the Keratoconus Program at NYU Langone Eye Center. During the appointment with Dr. Ostrovksy, they learned more about this condition and the available treatment options. She recommended John receive iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking, which is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure for the treatment of progressive keratoconus aimed at slowing or halting the progression of the condition. After Dr. Ostrovsky walked them through the entire procedure and answered all of their questions, John and his family decided that cross-linking was the right option for him and scheduled the appointment! 

John, Mark, and Dr. Ostrovsky recently spoke to The Long-Islander News to discuss their experiences with progressive keratoconus and iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking. John even shared that he is looking into designing a keratoconus awareness sock to help raise money for the condition. You can read the full article below to learn more.  

Originally published by Jake Pellegrino of The Long-Islander News on February 17, 2022.

For more information on keratoconus and iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking, or to read more Keratoconus Journeys like John’s, follow Living with KC on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


Find a Cross-Linking Expert Near You

Search the directory to locate a cross-linking expert who is familiar with treating progressive keratoconus.

The results described on this site are based on data collected regarding short- and intermediate-term efficacy of treatment. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.


[1] Alio, J. L., Vega-Estrada, A., Sanz, P., Osman, A. A., Kamal, A. M., Mamoon, A., & Soliman, H. (2018). Corneal morphologic characteristics in patients with down syndrome. JAMA Ophthalmology, 136(9), 971.

[2] Kristianslund, O., & Drolsum, L. (2021). Prevalence of keratoconus in persons with Down Syndrome: A Review. BMJ Open Ophthalmology, 6(1).