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If you're experiencing problems with your vision, such as blurriness or sensitivity to light, you may need to be referred to an ophthalmologist at a hospital for diagnosis and treatment of keratoconus. Keratoconus is a condition that affects the cornea, which is the clear outer layer of the eye. It can cause the cornea to become thin and bulge into a cone-like shape, which can affect your vision and cause discomfort.

If you're referred to an ophthalmologist for keratoconus, they will conduct a series of tests to diagnose the condition and determine the best course of treatment. Treatment options for keratoconus may include prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, or in some cases, surgery. One common surgery for keratoconus is corneal cross-linking, which involves strengthening the cornea by using a special solution and UV light.

It's important to get diagnosed and treated for keratoconus as early as possible to prevent the condition from worsening and causing further damage to your eyesight. Your ophthalmologist will work with you to create a personalised treatment plan and monitor your progress throughout the treatment period. With the right treatment, it's possible to improve your vision and prevent long-term damage to your eyes.

At Blackrock Health, we have earned a long-standing reputation for excellence in private medical and surgical care. This includes the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the eye, ear, nose, and throat, for both adults and children Our three hospitals offer easy and speedy access to expert care in these fields. We have a renowned team of consultants, and we use the latest techniques and technologies. This means we can aim to provide you with a fast, accurate diagnoses and an effective and tailored treatment plan. We understand that experiencing problems with your eyes, ears, nose, or throat can be worrying. That is why we are committed to providing compassionate and reassuring care. Whether you need a routine check-up or a more complex procedure, we are here to help. Our team is dedicated to providing you with the highest standards of care and support - throughout your journey to better health. 

Ophthalmology is the study and treatment of eye disorders. Our ophthalmology team treats all eye conditions. Our  team will look after you throughout your diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

As a Blackrock Health patient, you'll be cared for by our team of consultant ophthalmologists and consultant ophthalmic surgeons. All our consultants offer care and expertise in their own specialties and continue to lead research in vision sciences. Many of our eye specialists also consult in major teaching hospitals.

The team includes:

  • Consultant ophthalmologists
  • Consultant ophthalmic surgeons
  • Ophthalmic clinical nurse specialists
  • Ophthalmic technicians
  • Optometrists

Please note that we do not offer an emergency service for eye health issues. If you have the following symptoms, you should call 112 or 999:

  • Sudden or severe eye pain
  • Loss of sight
  • Lots of flashing lights
  • Chemicals in your eye
  • Severe eye trauma

What is Kertoconus?

Keratoconus is a degenerative disorder of the eye in which structural changes within the cornea cause it to thin and change to a more conical shape than its normal gradual curve. Keratoconus can cause substantial distortion of vision, with the patient seeing multiple images, or seeing streaking of objects, or experiencing sensitivity to light. It is typically diagnosed in the patient’s adolescent years and can be most severe between the ages of 20 and 40.

If affecting both eyes, the deterioration in vision can affect the patient’s ability to drive a car or read normal print. In most cases, corrective contact lenses fitted by a specialist are effective enough to allow the patient to continue to drive legally and function normally. Further progression of the disease may require surgery, for which several options are available, including intrastromal corneal ring segments, cross-linking and in 10-15% of cases, corneal transplantation.

Keratoconus affects around one person in a thousand. It seems to occur in populations throughout the world, although it is observed more frequently in certain ethnic groups, such as South Asians. Environmental and genetic factors are considered possible causes, but the exact cause is uncertain.

Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking

This is a technique which uses UV light and a photosensitiser to strengthen chemical bonds in the cornea. The goal of the treatment is to halt the progressive and irregular changes in corneal shape, which are known as ectasia. These ectatic changes are typically marked by corneal thinning and an increase in the anterior and/or posterior curvatures of the cornea, and often lead to high levels of myopia (short-sightedness) and astigmatism (abnormal curvature).

The most common form of ectasia is keratoconus. In the cornea, collagen cross-linking occurs naturally with aging. It has been hypothesized that this natural cross-linkage of collagen explains why keratoconus (corneal ectasia) often progresses most rapidly in adolescence or early adulthood but tends to stabilize in patients after middle-age.

What can you expect during the procedure

This is a non-invasive outpatient procedure. Drops are applied to numb the surface of the eyes, so that your ophthalmologist can painlessly remove the outer layer of the cornea. Then

Vitamin B (riboflavin) medicine is applied, and UV light is directed at the cornea. The UV light activates the Vitamin B, which allows new bonds to "cross-link" between the collagen in your cornea.

After the procedure, your eye will be covered by a bandage and you may need to use steroid and/or antibiotic drops.

How do I get this?

You will need a referral letter from your GP, optician or consultant before you make an appointment.

Is this insured?

Not all services are covered by health insurance. To find out if you're covered, please check your health insurance before your visit. You can do this on our health insurance cover check page, or by contacting your health insurer. 

How do I pay?

If you do not have health insurance or your health plan does not cover the full cost, you will need to pay the balance due before your treatment or procedure. You may be able to claim back some fees on your insurance. To pay an excess not covered by your insurance or any other inpatient fees, please visit our payment page. If you have any queries about paying for your care, please contact the finance team in your hospital.

Available at:
  • Blackrock Clinic
  • Hermitage Clinic

Blackrock Clinic

Rock Road, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, A94E4X7
Corneal Cross Linking for Keratoconus

Hermitage Clinic

Old Lucan Road, Dublin, D20 W722
Corneal Cross Linking for Keratoconus