Collagen crosslinking is an in-office procedure that stabilizes the cornea in patients with corneal conditions such as keratoconus or pellucid marginal degeneration. The procedure involves placing riboflavin (vitamin B2) drops onto the front surface of the eye and then using an ultraviolet (UV) light to activate it. The riboflavin stimulates new connections between collagen strands within the cornea, thereby strengthening the whole structure.
Although it is not a cure for keratoconus, by strengthening the cornea, this procedure reduces progression, or a further bowing out of the front surface of the eye. Collagen cross-linking can flatten the cornea which increases the comfort of contact lenses and can reduce night-time glare. Depending on the initial presentation of Keratoconus or Pellucid, contact lenses may still be needed even after collagen crosslinking is done, however, contact lens wear is usually much more comfortable after the procedure and more contact lens options may be available afterwards. The cornea may even be flattened to the point where only soft contact lenses are necessary. Additionally, INTACS and PRK can often be done after crosslinking so that a person may see well without any vision correction at all.