The last couple of months have been exciting in eye news! The FDA has approved an eye drop and an eye procedure that we have been waiting several years for.
First, Xiidra (lifitegrast) eyedrops were approved by the FDA on July 13. This adds a valuable tool to treat dry eye. Dry eye affects between 5-15% of the population, but in our local climate we believe those numbers are higher.
Second, corneal cross-linking is a procedure that has been used for decades in Europe to treat keratoconus and post-Lasik ectasia (thinning of the cornea). The Avedro system is the first corneal cross-linking treatment approved in the United States.
Keratoconus and post LASIK ectasia are both conditions where the cornea is thinned, sometimes requiring a corneal transplant. Corneal cross-linking uses liquid Vitamin B2 on the cornea then exposes the cornea to UV light for a set period of time. This process stiffens the corneal tissue, and significantly decreases the need for corneal transplant.
Currently, we send patients to the twin cities for these treatments, which were experimental previously. We will keep you up to date on when they will be available in our area.