U.S. Study of New Treatment for Keratoconus Published

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Over the past decade, corneal collagen crosslinking (CXL) has emerged as a promising technique to stop or slow the progression of keratoconus. The results of CXL, a new treatment for keratoconus, has been published in this month’s issue of the journal Ophthalmology and study results showed a meaningful improvement in keratoconus patients.

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Dr. Peter Hersh performing CXL during the early stages of clinical trials

As medical monitor of the U.S. clinical trials of crosslinking, it is extremely rewarding to see this treatment option now available to keratoconus patients.

The results of corneal collagen crosslinking (CXL), a new treatment for keratoconus, has been published in this month’s issue of the journal Ophthalmology (Hersh PS et al. United States multicenter clinical trial of corneal collagen crosslinking for keratoconus treatment. Ophthalmology 2017;124:1259-1270). Keratoconus is a sight-threatening disease in which the cornea (the clear dome-shape front lens of the eye) is weak, leading to distortion, scarring, and blurring of vision. Collagen crosslinking uses a combination of riboflavin (a form of vitamin B2) and ultraviolet light to strengthen the cornea. The goal of crosslinking is to make the cornea stronger, to decrease the natural progression of keratoconus and improve disease prognosis.

Dr. Peter S. Hersh, M.D., founder of the Cornea and Laser Eye Institute and its CLEI Center of Keratoconus in Teaneck NJ, was lead author of the study. "Study results showed a meaningful improvement in keratoconus patients. Many of our patients participated in this study, and it is extremely rewarding to see this important new treatment option now available. Keratoconus is a progressive disease, and corneal crosslinking is the first treatment available to us which is effective to decrease worsening of vision over time."

About Keratoconus:

Keratoconus, a disease of the cornea, occurs in the overall population at a rate of about one in 1000. It often begins in teenagers or those in their 20’s. The disease results in thinning of the corneal tissues. Consequently, the cornea bulges out of its smooth, clear, dome-like structure, and assumes a more conical and irregular configuration. This irregularity tends to worsen over time. Because of this change in shape, the cornea loses its ability to form a clear image in the eye and the patient's vision can decrease drastically. Often, in the past, patients required corneal transplantation as the keratoconus worsened. CXL offers the hope of slowing keratoconus progression and thus avoiding the need for transplantion.

About the CLEI Center for Keratoconus

Dr. Peter S. Hersh, M.D, director of the Cornea and Laser Eye Institute - Hersh Vision Group inaugurated its subspecialty dedicated CLEI Center for Keratoconus in 2002. Dr. Hersh is a graduate of Princeton University, Johns Hopkins Medical School, and Harvard Medical School's ophthalmology residency and corneal surgery fellowship programs, The mission of the CLEI Center for Keratoconus is to provide the keratoconus patient with expert and state-of-the-art diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical services covering all aspects of keratoconic care. With doctors and surgeons expert in corneal disease, specialty contact lens fittings, and the full range of innovative corneal and refractive surgery procedures for the treatment of keratoconus, patients receive examinations to fully assess their problem and can be offered the best treatment options available. With a full-time clinical research director, the CLEI Center for Keratoconus is also at the forefront of research and innovation in keratoconus treatment. In addition to monitoring the study leading to recent approval of the crosslinking technique, the Center performs a number of research studies and clinical trials designed to afford the KC patient the most up-to-date and advanced care available.

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Stacey Lazar
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The Cornea and Laser Eye Institute, PA
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