Healthy Eyes 101

Ep. 006: Keratoconus and Corneal Cross-Linking with Kenneth Beckman, MD

May 25, 2020 Steven Suh, MD Episode 6
Healthy Eyes 101
Ep. 006: Keratoconus and Corneal Cross-Linking with Kenneth Beckman, MD
Show Notes

Dr. Steven Suh interviews Dr. Kenneth Beckman about a debilitating, corneal thinning condition called keratoconus.

The incidence is approximately 1 in 2,000 individuals.

The major risk factors include atopic disease, Down’s Syndrome, some family history, floppy eyelid syndrome, and chronic eye rubbing.


  • Initially patients may be asymptomatic
  • Blurred or distorted vision from increasing nearsightedness and/or astigmatism
  • Increased sensitivity to bright light and glare, which can cause problems with night driving
  • A need for frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions
  • Sudden worsening or clouding of vision

Keratoconus can be diagnosed in the late teenage years and can worsen as time goes on.

Corneal topography is the main tool for diagnosis.


  • Early: glasses, soft contact lenses, gas-permeable contacts, then specialty contacts called scleral lenses
  • Later stages: traditional treatment has been corneal transplantation
    • May have long recovery time in terms of improved vision
    • Need numerous post-operative visits
    • Will need a lifetime of steroid eye drops to help avoid rejection of the corneal graft 
    • Minor trauma can be dangerous to a post-corneal transplant eye
    • May need another transplant in the future
  • Corneal cross-linking
    •  A relatively new, in-office procedure that can slow down the progression of the thinning and warping
    • Cross-linking involves treating the cornea with eye drops containing riboflavin, a B-vitamin. After the cornea has been saturated with the riboflavin, the cornea is then treated with ultraviolet light.
    • Procedure time is about one hour
    • Eye drops are used for only a few weeks
    • Goal is to catch keratoconus early to hopefully prevent, or at least delay, the need for a corneal transplant in the future

Cross-linking can also treat pellucid marginal degeneration and corneal thinning (or ectasia) after LASIK.

Here is the abstract for Dr. Beckman’s cross-linking article.

To find out more about Dr. Ken Beckman and his practice, go to Comprehensive EyeCare of Central Ohio’s website or Facebook page.

This is intended for informational and educational purposes only, and nothing in this podcast/blog is to be considered as recommending or rendering medical advice or treatment to a specific patient. Please consult your eye care specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment of any eye conditions that you may have.