WK Eye Institute Offers Avedro System Cross-Linking Therapy to Treat Keratoconus

Aug 30, 2018

Keratoconus, a progressive and sight-threatening eye condition, affects one out of every 850 Americans. And now WK Eye Institute has the first available treatment in our area to slow or stop the progression of the disease, the Avedro Accelerated Cross-Linking System.

This noninflammatory eye condition is caused when a cone-like bulge results from thinning in the normally rounded dome-shaped cornea, creating vision irregularities. It is typically diagnosed during adolescence and early adulthood and, without treatment, many patients require corneal transplants. Because it is difficult to diagnose, it is often not identified until it reaches its later stages.

“Corneal cross-linking with the Avedro System has the potential to decrease the risk that a patient will need a corneal transplant in the future,” says Stephen W. Lewis, OD, of WK Eye Institute.  During the minimally invasive procedure Vitamin B2 eye drops are applied, followed by controlled applications of ultraviolet light. This cross-linking makes the surface stronger and structurally sound and stops the disease, Lewis says. The outpatient procedure, which takes about an hour, is offered exclusively in our area by Christopher L. Shelby, MD, and Wyche T. Coleman III, MD, at WK Eye Institute at Willis-Knighton Medical Center.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, symptoms of keratoconus include:

  • mild blurring of vision
  • slightly distorted vision, where straight lines look bent or wavy
  • increased sensitivity to light and glare
  • eye redness or swelling
  • frequent changes in vision prescriptions
  • inability to wear contact lenses

The diagnosis is confirmed by using Pentacam imaging, which Lewis calls the “gold standard worldwide.” WK Eye Institute has two Pentacam corneal topographers.

While cross-Linking therapy has been used in Europe since 2003, the Avedro System was not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for keratoconus until 2016, and WK Eye Institute is the first center in North Louisiana to adopt the technology.