Corneal Cross-linking

Avoid the need for a corneal transplant
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What is Corneal Cross-Linking?

If you have keratoconus, corneal cross-linking can stop it in its tracks
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Who can corneal cross-linking help?

Can you see yourself below?

YOU’RE 20 TO 39

While you may not notice anything wrong in its very early stages, an optometrist may tell you that you have early signs of keratoconus. Unchecked, you’ll notice an inability to focus properly, mild blurring of vision, slightly distorted vision, where straight lines look bent or wavy. You may have an increased sensitivity to light and glare. You may see redness in your eyes and experience swelling. You may be getting worse, quickly.

YOU’RE 40 TO 51

While you may experience these symptoms before this age, in later stages of keratoconus you experience more blurry and distorted vision. Your short-sightedness or astigmatism prescription may change fast, requiring you to replace your glasses more often. Your contact lenses may no longer fit properly and become uncomfortable.

Stabilise your keratoconus

While it’s possible you may see a little better, the main aim of corneal cross-linking is to halt the progression of keratoconus. Further, your vision may be more correctable in the future.


You’ll first experience blurriness, light sensitivity and discomfort after the procedure. Over time, your vision will get back to what it was before the treatment. The most important result is that your keratoconus will not get worse. In the long-term, you might even become suitable for vision correction.


Some patients report that their keratoconus is no longer the front and centre of their lives. They feel relief that we’ve halted the progressive condition from getting worse. Some even feel optimism around the prospect of getting their vision corrected in the future.


Before corneal cross-linking, patients can feel exhausted by the disease and emotionally spent. Many report it’s an exhausting condition that results in non-stop blurriness and feeling pain when putting in contact lenses. After corneal cross-linking, your eyesight might initially get worse. Over time, however, you’ll be able to resume your normal activities and there’s a small chance you might even experience some visual improvement.


If you suffer from keratoconus, you’re tired. When you experience the weight that will lift off your shoulders when your eye becomes stable, you’ll know you’ve made the right decision to have corneal cross-linking.


But you do. In the past, the only option you had was to have a corneal transplant. Fortunately, today we’re able to help you stabilise your keratoconus with corneal cross-linking. Let’s overcome this together and get you on the road to feeling better, and maybe even seeing better.

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Corneal Cross-Linking can provide the hope you need to get control over your keratoconus

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My patients love their lives after vision correction

“Mr Shortt was very patient and kind with me while I had a little bit of a freak out directly before surgery. He quickly put me at ease and reassured me that nothing would be done until I was 100% ok with it. I cannot recommend Mr Shortt and his team highly enough, patient, caring and very professional.”

Nicki O.

“Quite simply the best medical experience I’ve had. Mr Shortt’s knowledge, professionalism and attention to detail was faultless and the aftercare absolutely Impeccable.”


“I cannot recommend Mr Shortt highly enough. Very organised and gets back to you quickly with any questions you have. Is very thorough in his explanations and makes you feel at ease before surgery. Surgery was quick and the results were brilliant. Aftercare was top notch as well.”

Ross G.

“I had LASIK done 2 weeks ago and it was the best decision ever! The procedure was very quick, painless and the result was instant. Dr Alex Shortt was very competent and easy to talk to. He’s calm, knowledgeable and a charming person.”

Natasha, LASIK

“Mr Alex Shortt successfully performed Lens Replacement Surgery on both my eyes on the 13th October 2017. The care that I have received from Alex and his team through out the process has been amazing. Choosing Mr Shortt as my surgeon was one of the best decisions that I have made. I would very highly recommend Mr Shortt. l will always be grateful to Alex for the amazing care and results I’ve received – thank you!”

Roma A., Lens replacement

“Excellent care by a first class consultant. Would not hesitate to recommend Mr. Alex Shortt. Puts you at ease, explains every aspect of the treatment he is going to adminster and his care and professionalism are excellent. He is simply the best.”

Lorraine B.

“Don’t want to write a load of waffle so people get bored. All I can say is if you are thinking of having eye surgery go and speak to Mr Shortt. You won’t be disappointed. We need more surgeons of his high standard in the UK.”

Andy D.

“Mr Alex Shortt’s manner and brilliant skills are of the highest professional and caring standard one could ever expect to receive. I am now living in a bright new world no longer needing spectacles after wearing bifocal lenses for the past 24 years.”

Laura D
“I can honestly say the care I’ve received has been outstanding. Nothing has ever been too much trouble, he has taken the time to explain everything in detail, and has gone above and beyond on multiple occasions to ensure I get everything I need. He has always treated me respectfully and ensured we have made decisions together. I’ll always be grateful to Alex for the amazing care I’ve received.”

“During the procedure Dr Shortt explained what he was doing every step of the way. This really made me feel at ease and reassured throughout. He made the whole procedure very simple.”


Supplementary information about Corneal Cross-Linking

In my expert hands, you certainly don’t need to know all of the information I’ve included in the toggles below. If you’d like to know how it all works, however, open them and learn more.

Corneal Cross-Linking (CXL or CCL) is a treatment that strengthens the cornea and prevents keratoconus from getting worse.

CXL is also used to treat weakening of the cornea (a condition known as corneal ectasia).

I use collagen cross-linking (CCL or CXL) in two groups of patients:

  1. Patients with keratoconus
  2. Patients with corneal ectasia after laser eye surgery.

Keratoconus is a condition where the cornea thins, becomes weak and then loses its shape.

A combination of genetic and environmental factors, particularly allergy, cause keratoconus.

Corneal ectasia is a rare keratoconus-like condition which happens in approximately 1 in 10,000 patients after laser eye surgery.

In both conditions, as the cornea thins and weakens it loses its normal smooth curvature and buckets into a cone-like shape. This causes a marked reduction in vision.

In early Keratoconus, glasses might be sufficient to improve the vision. But as it progresses and as the cornea thins and buckles more you will need to wear hard contact lenses and eventually may require a corneal transplant to correct the vision.

Corneal Cross-Linking (CXL or CCL) is a treatment to strengthen the cornea and to prevent keratoconus or corneal ectasia getting worse.

It uses ultraviolet (UV) light and vitamin B2 (riboflavin) drops to stiffen the cornea. Used together they cause fibres within the cornea to bond more tightly (‘cross-links’). This treatment mimics the usual age-related stiffening of the cornea (natural cross-linking).

CXL is successful in stabilising the cornea in over 95% of cases. It is not a vision correction treatment and therefore after treatment, spectacles or contact lenses will still be needed. In some patients, it is possible to perform vision correction surgery after CXL.

The procedure is successful in stabilising the cornea in over 95% of cases. It is not a vision correction treatment and therefore after treatment, spectacles or contact lenses will still be needed. In some patients, it is possible to perform vision correction surgery after CXL.

As with all operations, there are risks: CXL is safe, but there is a small chance (about 1 in 30) of your vision worsening afterwards, mainly due to a worsening of the glasses prescription.

In 30% of patients, the shape of the cornea and vision improve with this treatment.

The treatment takes one hour in total to perform, and the eyes are gritty and sore for about three days afterwards.

Although your vision is often hazy soon after the procedure, you can most likely resume contact lens wear and return to work within 7 to 10 days.

How it works

Let’s get you on the road to recovery in 3 steps





Give us a call on 020 3808 7758 and we’ll help guide you towards a consultation.


I’ll see you before treatment to ensure you’re a good candidate and treat you at one of my Harley Street London facilities.


I’ll supervise your aftercare as you begin to experience a life free of from the constant worry of progressive keratoconus.

About the author

Mr Alex J. Shortt | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MB BCh MSc PhD FRCOphth PGDipCatRef

I’m Alex Shortt, a highly trained academic researcher and Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon based in London’s famous Harley Street medical district. I trained and worked as a consultant for 14 years at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital. I specialise in advanced technologies for correcting vision, including cataract surgery, implantable contact lenses and laser vision correction.

Learn more about me