Despite a recent media story, an eye procedure known as keratoconus cross-linking is vital and necessary to halt the advance of the eye disease keratoconus, advises the peak body for eye care, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO).
Television program A Current Affair ran a story on Friday 13 March about a group of patients who received the wrong eye drops after cross-linking was performed in QLD in 2012. RANZCO has great sympathy for the patients who suffered severe corneal complications as a result. The story confused laser eye surgery with keratoconus cross-linking, a specific procedure on the corneal part of the eye.
The Health Quality and Complaints Commission of Queensland found that the ophthalmologist in question was not responsible for the tragedy. The matter is subject to ongoing legal proceedings.
RANZCO’s concern is that other patients booked for routine cross-linking around Australia may fear that the procedure itself is dangerous and cancel vision-saving surgery.
These procedures are carried out by ophthalmologists – or eye surgeons – who have undergone the highest level of medical training and strict accreditation. Cross-linking is effective in reducing the risk of progressive loss of vision and the need for a corneal transplant by strengthening the cornea, enabling it to hold its proper shape and to protect vision.
Additionally, laser eye surgery as referred to in the A Current Affair story is also a common and wellestablished procedure. RANZCO stresses caution in referring to all eye surgeries as “laser surgeries”, when in fact there are different types of eye surgeries for both common and rare eye diseases.
All eye procedures undertaken by an ophthalmologist carry some risk – however minor – and we would encourage any patient who has concerns to speak with their eye specialist.
“Post-operative side-effects to cross-linking – such as light sensitivity and temporary minor blurring – are common for many types of eye surgeries. The vast majority of people suffering from keratoconus and other corneal conditions are suitable for cross-linking, but suitability is always properly assessed by an ophthalmologist, taking into account the patient’s past and present eye health, ” said Dr Grant Snibson, a corneal specialist who has performed cross-linking.
For more information about keratoconus cross-linking generally, please visit the Global Keratoconus Foundation website.
For more information or to arrange an interview contact Emma Carr or Josie Faunce at RANZCO on 02 9690 1001 and email@example.com