Jessa Lethbridge, a junior at Lehi High School, is just like any teenager – she enjoys spending time with her friends, playing soccer, and competing with her high school marching band. The last thing Jessa wanted to worry about was her eyesight affecting her ability to do the things she loved.
When Jessa was in 8th grade, she was struggling with poor vision. She went to see her optometrist for a routine exam, and was told her vision in her right eye could not be corrected to 20/20 with her regular contact lenses due a condition called keratoconus. Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition where the eye is shaped more like a football, than spherical like a baseball. The weak corneal tissue and cone-like shape causes distortions when light enters the eye, making vision blurry and difficult to obtain sharp, clear vision with regular glasses or contact lenses.
Jessa’s optometrist monitored her condition for a couple of years, and then recommended a few different options to address help improve Jessa’s quality of vision. The first option was to wear hard contact lenses. Hard contact lenses are much more expensive than soft contacts, and they can take some time getting used to. Also, hard contact lenses may help improve quality of vision, but they don’t actually stop or slow the progression of keratoconus.
Jessa’s optometrist and her mother Angie both decided Corneal Cross-Linking would be the best option for Jessa. Cross-linking is an FDA approved treatment that uses a combination of riboflavin drops and UV light to rebuild collagen bonds to strengthen the cornea.
When keratoconus is diagnosed early and treated using cross-linking, patients are able to slow or halt the progression of the disease, and prevent the need for a corneal transplant surgery. Cornea transplant surgery is much more invasive than cross-linking, and requires a lifetime of care and much longer recovery.
Jessa underwent the cross-linking treatment on her right eye in May of 2017.
Since having the cross-linking treatment, Jessa is still a little light sensitive, but is enjoying her vision. “I can see better and just haven’t had as many problems with that eye since my cross-linking treatment. I would totally have the treatment again – in a heartbeat,” Jessa expressed.
If you have been diagnosed with keratoconus and would like to see if Corneal Crosslinking is right for you, contact The Eye Institute of Utah.
The Eye Institute of Utah Doctors have either authored or reviewed and approved this content.