Corneal cross-linking

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Corneal cross-linking

What you need to know

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Preparing for your visit

Please contact your surgeon’s office to confirm your arrival and surgery time. Learn More

Preparing for your visit


Thank you for choosing the Kensington Eye Institute for your upcoming appointment. By following these important tips, you will arrive prepared for your surgery at the Kensington Eye Institute.

We want you to feel comfortable in our care, and to make your experience as relaxed as possible.

Tip #1: Confirm your appointment

Please contact your surgeon’s office to confirm your arrival and surgery time. You also need to confirm your pre and post-operative eye drops with your surgeon.

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Tip #2: Make sure you have everything you need

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We recommend you follow this checklist to make sure you have everything you need before surgery:

  • Bring a valid OHIP card and photo ID. If you do not have this with you the surgery will be cancelled.

  • Please read your consent form.

  • Please arrange for someone to pick you up from your procedure. Advise your pickup to come to the 6th floor to collect you.

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing that opens up in the front. Please do not wear multiple layers of clothing, full slips or dresses.

  • Please do not wear eye make-up, perfume or cologne.

  • Unexpected complications and cancellations on the day of surgery may delay or advance your surgery time.

  • It is not advisable to book any other appointments on the day of surgery.

Tip #3: Read your consent form

Food and drink instructions:

  • Please note that you may eat or drink as normal before your procedure.

Medication instructions:

  • Please read over medication instructions before leaving the clinic, and make sure to ask any questions you may have before you head home.

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During your visit

We make it a priority to ensure you are at ease during your procedure. Learn More

During your visit


Your corneal cross-linking procedure

Corneal cross-linking is a minimally invasive procedure. The surgeon will apply liquid riboflavin (vitamin B2) to the surface of the eye, followed by applying ultraviolet light to stabilize the cornea from continuing to bulge due to keratoconus or other corneal thinning disorders.

There are different types of corneal cross-linking. We offer Epithelium-off corneal cross-linking. In this type of cross-linking procedure, the thin outer layer of the cornea is removed to allow the liquid vitamin B2 to more easily penetrate the corneal tissue.

Corneal cross-linking also can be combined with other procedures for keratoconus treatment. In some cases, surgeons suggest an additional procedure called intracorneal ring segments which involves inserting tiny arc-shaped corneal inserts.

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After your visit

It is normal for your eye to feel slightly uncomfortable, light sensitive, or red. Learn More

After your visit


Many patients will experience eye pain after the cross-linking procedure that will generally last 24-48 hours. Rest and sleep are recommended to encourage your eyes to complete the initial healing stages.

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What to expect after your procedure:

  • Your eye will remain numb from the freezing drops for about 30 to 60 minutes after your procedure. Make sure not to touch or rub your eye(s).

  • Many patients experience significant pain after the cross-linking procedure. This occurs for the first 2 days after the procedure.

  • When you arrive home, over-the-counter pain medications may be taken to help deal with any mild to moderate discomfort.

  • It is normal to feel that you cannot comfortable keep your eyes open for the first few hours after the procedure.

What to avoid?

  • Avoid getting soap in your eyes during baths and showers. Gently close your eyes to prevent this.

  • Avoid swimming, smoky or dusty areas for at least 2 to 3 weeks.

  • It is recommended that reading, computer work and watching television be avoided for at least the first 48 hours.

  • Avoid wearing makeup for the first 7 days.

Ocular emergency

If after surgery, you experience any of the following, please seek immediate medical attention:

  • Increasing pain in the operative eye
  • Decreased / dimming vision
  • Increasing swelling
  • Vomiting
  • A fever (temperate of 38C or 101F)
  • A gush of fluid or pus/discharge from your eye

Please go to the nearest emergency room. During regular business hours, contact your surgeon's office.

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What is corneal cross-linking?

Corneal cross-linking is an eye procedure that strengthens the cornea if it's been weakened by keratoconus, other corneal diseases, or a complication of laser eye surgery.

Corneal cross-linking can help maintain the current level of vision and is meant to prevent vision from worsening. The procedure strengthens a weak or thin cornea with a combination of vitamin B2 solution and controlled UV light.

What is keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye disease in which the normally round cornea thins and begins to bulge into a cone-like shape. The cone shape deflects light on its way to the retina, causing distorted vision.

How do you know if you have keratoconus?

To diagnose keratoconus, your ophthalmologist will review your medical and family history and conduct an eye exam, as well as other tests to look at the shape of your cornea.

Some symptoms of keratoconus include slightly distorted vision, mild blurring of vision, increased sensitivity to light and glare, eye redness or swelling.


If you have any questions about corneal cross-linking, contact us by completing this form.

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Ocular emergency