Corneal Cross-Linking

Mass. Eye and Ear Physicians Among the Most Experienced Nationwide with Advanced, Sight-Saving Procedure

Massachusetts Eye and Ear is one of a few hospitals in New England that performs a newly FDA-approved procedure called corneal cross-linking. This minimally invasive, in-office procedure is the only treatment that can slow or stop the progression of keratoconus—an eye condition that causes the cornea to become thin, weak, and irregularly shaped. It can also be used to treat rare complications from LASIK surgery.

“Corneal cross-linking offers new hope for patients with keratoconus. Previously, the only treatment options available were eye glasses/contact lenses and, in advanced cases, corneal transplant surgery. Now with corneal cross-linking, we can preserve vision and prevent the condition from worsening,” said Roberto Pineda, II MD, Director of the Keratorefractive Surgery Service at Mass. Eye and Ear.

Reducing the Need for Corneal Transplants

“In patients with keratoconus, the corneas become very elastic and tend to bulge. As a result, it becomes increasingly difficult to see,” said Kathryn M. Hatch, MD, a cornea and refractive surgery specialist at Mass. Eye and Ear and Site Director for Mass. Eye and Ear, Waltham.

Corneal collagen cross-linking, sometimes called CXL, helps strengthen the cornea. During the procedure, liquid vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is placed in the eyes and exposed to ultraviolet light. This treatment increases the collagen fiber crosslinks, which act like the cornea’s support beams—making the cornea stronger and increasing its ability to maintain its shape and focusing power.

“We are very excited to be able to offer this minimally-invasive, vision-saving procedure to our patients. Corneal collagen cross-linking has dramatically improved the outlook for patients with keratoconus and reduced the need for corneal transplants,” said Dr. Hatch. “Today, Mass. Eye and Ear is one of the busiest corneal cross-linking facilities in the United States.”

Mass. Eye and Ear—A National Leader in Corneal Cross-Linking

Mass. Eye and Ear physicians have been at the forefront of corneal cross-linking research, long before it was FDA-approved in 2016. They have participated in several cross-linking studies—making them among the most experienced with the procedure nationally. Learn more about their research.

“The international experience and clinical trials conducted in the United States have provided promising results for keratoconus, a condition that was once thought to be untreatable,” said Joseph B. Ciolino, MD, a cornea and refractive surgery specialist at Mass. Eye and Ear.

Cross-Linking Specialists

A consultation may be scheduled with a Mass. Eye and Ear corneal cross-linking specialist by calling 617-573-3202 (Boston, Charles Street campus) or 781-890-1023 (Mass. Eye and Ear, Waltham).

Roberto PinedaRoberto Pineda, II, MD
Director, Keratorefractive Surgery Service
Kathryn Hatch Kathryn Hatch, MD
Site Director, Mass. Eye and Ear, Waltham
Joe CiolinoJoseph Ciolino, MD
Henry Freeman Allen Cornea Scholar
Christian SongChristian Song, MD