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QEI clinic unveils new cross-linking technology for corneal procedure

The Queensland Eye Institute (QEI) has become the first clinic in Australia to offer a new topography-guided corneal collagen cross-linking treatment to keratoconus patients.

The clinic’s Dr Brendan Cronin and Dr David Gunn are now the only ophthalmologists in Australia who can perform the procedure with the Avedro Mosaic machine, which is being touted as a major advancement in the field of cross-linking diseased corneas.

According to QEI, corneal collagen cross-linking is the main form of treatment for keratoconus. Using ultraviolet light and riboflavin, it enhances the chemical bonds between the layers of the cornea to increase strength.

Traditionally, cross-linking systems have only been able to strengthen corneas. However, this new technology also improves the cornea’s shape.

According to QEI, the Avedro Mosaic machine is the only cross-linking machine available that can deliver extra energy to the more distorted parts of the cornea and subsequently regularise a patient’s cornea and their vision. It uses advanced iris recognition technology to correctly identify a patient, their pupil and track the movements of the eye.

“The potential benefits of being able to improve the shape of the cornea at the same time as stopping progression is very appealing,” Gunn told Insight.

“The machine has improved in terms of its abilities as well as development of protocols for treatment. This technology is a great step forward for patients with keratoconus as it offers customised treatments for what is a very variable disease. Cross linking is no longer a one size fits all treatment with the benefit being better quality of vision.”

Representatives from Avedro, which was acquired by Glaukos Corporation in November, flew in from Singapore and the US to install the machine and train QEI Clinic staff on its use.

The clinic has so far treated approximately 50 patients with the device with a wide variety of disease severity.

“[We] have each had some impressive results and are looking at a variety of study protocols including combination with other treatments. We are prospectively collecting data to look at outcomes from the treatments and results in an Australian setting.

Gunn will present some of his early cases at a QEI Optometry Education Series event, the first of which will be held on 19 and 20 February.