Corneal cross linking uses an eye drop containing riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and an ultraviolet (UV) light source over the course of 30 minutes. The treatment increases the molecular bonds between the collagen fibers that form the cornea. This increases the rigidity and mechanical strength of the cornea, decreasing the progressive changes that result in a steep and distorted cornea. The cornea is able to hold a better shape, with improved focusing power. In many cases it may help patients intolerant to contact lenses to start using them again, reducing the need for a corneal transplant. If cross linking is performed early enough it may be possible to prevent early keratoconus from developing into the advanced form of the disease.
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