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Cornea Cross-Linking

Cornea cross-linking (sometimes called corneal collagen cross-linking) is a minimally invasive procedure designed for people who have keratoconus, an inherited eye disorder. People with this condition have a thin, weak cornea that takes an irregular cone shape rather than a normal dome shape. This results in a number of eye and vision problems, such as blurred vision, glares and halos at night and the streaking of light, among others. Keratoconus can develop in just 1 eye but usually spreads to both. Without early treatment, astigmatism and vision changes worsen over time. Eventually, a cornea transplant is needed.

We offer a variety of appointment types. Learn more or call 913-588-1227 to schedule now.

Who should have cornea cross-linking?

Cornea cross-linking is most often recommended for people who have keratoconus. However, it can be useful in other conditions that result in thinning and bulging of the cornea. Additional candidates for this procedure include people who:

  • Have had laser eye surgery or radial keratotomy (RK)
  • Are near-sighted or have astigmatism and experience frequent prescription changes
  • Experience corneal ulcers or infections
  • Have early symptoms of myopia
  • Have eye allergies, blepharitis or any other condition that causes the eyes to itch and results in excessive eye rubbing

People with Down syndrome are also at high-risk for keratoconus and can often benefit from cornea cross-linking.

Benefits and risks of cornea cross-linking

When used early – before the shape of the cornea becomes too irregular or vision loss has become significant – cornea cross-linking can improve the shape of the cornea, prevent further corneal weakening and sometimes enhance vision. This procedure can also improve contact lens wear. Helping those with keratoconus avoid a cornea transplant is the biggest benefit of treatment.

The risks of cornea cross-linking are like that of any eye surgery and include eye pain, swelling and changes in vision. Infection and damage to the cornea are also possible, but rare.

To avoid complications and get the best results from your treatment, it’s important to choose a surgeon you trust. Our board-certified ophthalmologist Kenneth Goins, MD, is highly experienced in cornea cross-linking surgery. His experience, skill and expertise ensure that you receive a safe, effective procedure.

Cornea cross-linking diagnosis

You will receive a thorough evaluation to determine if cornea cross-linking is right for you. Your doctor will ask you about your personal vision history – including any eye surgeries – and conduct an eye examination. Then, if necessary, a diagnostic test called corneal topography will be used to determine the thickness of your cornea. This will help inform your diagnosis and identify the stage and severity of your condition, which typically falls into 1 of 3 categories:

Cornea cross-linking treatment

Cornea cross-linking eye surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that requires only topical anesthetic. During treatment, you will relax in a reclined position and riboflavin drops will be placed in your eye. After about 20 minutes, ultraviolet light is used to gently ablate the surface of the cornea. This will take around 30 minutes. Then, a bandage contact lens will be placed to protect the eye and help it heal. The entire procedure from start to finish lasts about 1 hour.

In patients with more advanced keratoconus, corneal cross-linking may be combined with other procedures for even better results. For example, your doctor may also implant small corneal inserts called Intacs®. Intacs can help reshape the front surface of the eye and stabilize the cornea in severe cases of keratoconus. Scleral contact lenses can also be an excellent option for improving eyesight in people with keratoconus. Your doctor will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that best fits your condition.

Cataract surgery patient Susan Webb.

Scleral lens, cataract surgery help patient see again

Susan went from not seeing out her right eye to 20/30 vision with the help of a scleral lens and cataract surgery.
Read her story.

Cornea cross-linking recovery

After treatment, you will need someone to drive you home. You will receive special eye drops and antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection. For 3-7 days, you will need to avoid sun exposure and stay in a quiet, dark room. You will also receive an eye shield to wear at night to keep you from rubbing your eyes while sleeping. Pain medication will be prescribed to help you manage any discomfort.

About 1 week after your procedure, you’ll return for a follow-up visit. During this visit, Dr. Goins will evaluate your healing and remove your bandages lenses. He will also let you know if it is safe to resume your normal activities, or if further recovery is needed.

Most people who have cornea cross-linking will enjoy their results for several years. Additional follow-up treatments may be needed to maintain corneal stability.

Why choose us

Advanced treatment

We offer the only corneal cross-linking platform that is FDA-approved for the treatment of progressive keratoconus in the U.S. This is the safest, most trusted system available and has been shown to offer rapid, dramatic improvement when used by a highly trained ophthalmologist.

Superior expertise

Dr. Kenneth Goins is a fellowship-trained, board-certified ophthalmologist who is a recognized expert in cornea cross-linking surgery. He was the first in the region to perform the procedure and is highly sought-after for his knowledge, skill and expertise.

Affordable financing

For those whose procedure is not covered by insurance, or for those without insurance, we offer CareCredit®. CareCredit allows you to pay for your procedure affordably, at your own pace.

Doctors and nurses collaborating

Leading research and clinical trials

We collaborate closely with the University of Kansas Medical Center to realize the power of academic medicine. Here at the health system, we deliver advanced patient care. The researchers at the medical center conduct industry-leading clinical trials and explore leading-edge innovation.
Our Research

Our doctor


  • The University of Kansas Hospital - Specialty Surgery
    1. Eye Care and Specialty Surgery
    • 7400 State Line Road
    • Suites 100, 208 and 212
    • Prairie Village, KS 66208
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  • Eye Center
    2. Medical Pavilion
    • Eye Center
    • 2000 Olathe Blvd., Miller Building, Suite 1011
    • Kansas City, KS 66160
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