Collagen Cross Linking

c3rlabCollagen cross linking (known also as UVX, or C3R) is a novel idea to strengthen the weak cornea in keratoconus, or if "ectasia" develops after Laser Vision Correction. When the cornea is weak, it is soft, and will sag, causing the bulge of keratoconus. The concept is that shining high intensity UV light will toughen the cornea, improving the strength the cornea, thereby improving the shape and making the cornea more regular with less astigmatism. The image on the right shows experimental data of the weak cornea below, and the "tougher" cornea above. Note the yellow colour of the "tougher" cornea which is due to riboflavin, used to enhance the absorption of UV ight.

Collagen cross linking is proven to stop deterioration of the cornea over 1 to 5 years. Collagen cross linking will STABILISE vision, rather than improve it.


c3rintraopThe procedure is performed in the office, and takes between 60-90 minutes. It usually does not require any needles, and only drops for anaesthesia. Initially, the cornea is soaked in Riboflavin drops, and then the patient is asked to look at a calibrated UV light for a period of 30 minutes. No stitches are needed, and the patient may go home on the same day.

For 2 to 3 days after the procedure, the patient will experience moderate pain with hazy vision.


The effect of collagen cross linking is

  • to SLOW or halt progression of keratoconus if it is progressing.
  • not the same in every patient
  • time related, with up to¬†2 years for benefits to be noted
  • to STABILISE vision, rather than improve vision


It is our experience that Collagen cross linking is most effective in mild to moderate cases where progression of disease has been demonstrated, and where the aim of treatment is to slow or halt progression of disease, rather than to improve vision


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