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Emily’s Keratoconus Journey, Part 2: After iLink®

Having struggled with vision issues since she was in the eighth grade, Emily eventually learned that she was living with progressive keratoconus. Emily’s eye disease began to impact her work as a first-grade teacher when she experienced debilitating headaches that interfered with her ability to read books to her students and she struggled to see her coworkers’ and students’ faces from a distance. In addition, Emily found driving at night and playing sports, one of her favorite activities, to be difficult with her declining vision.

Luckily, Emily’s optometrist, Dr. Brooke Messer at Vance Thompson Vision in Fargo, ND, recommended that she receive the iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking procedure to slow or halt the progression of her keratoconus and help preserve vision. Although Emily was nervous about getting the procedure, she was excited about the possibility of regaining the life she once knew and loved.

Treating Her Right Eye

Prior to Emily’s first cross-linking procedure in her right eye, she felt most nervous about being awake during the treatment. However, as the procedure was underway, Emily immediately relaxed – her surgeon, Dr. Michael Greenwood, was very friendly and engaged in conversation with her while she was being treated. The procedure was over before she knew it, and Emily found the entire process to be fairly easy. After the procedure, resting proved to be the most helpful. Emily experienced some discomfort, which was made worse by bright lights or looking at her cell phone, so she slept as much as she could.

The following day, Emily wore sunglasses to help alleviate some of her light sensitivity. By day three, she was feeling much better, and she was able to continue her recovery while watching New Girl and The Bachelorette. By day five, Emily resumed driving, along with the majority of her regular activities.

Knowing What to Expect With Her Left Eye

After learning what to expect from her first iLink FDA-approved cross-linking procedure, Emily was not nervous going into the second procedure to treat her left eye. Similar to her first experience, she found the procedure itself to be easy. Afterward, she made sure to rest and not rush her recovery. Like Emily’s right eye, she noticed that her left eye started to feel better after about four days. With both procedures behind her, Emily felt relieved and hopeful about her future.

Looking Forward to the Future

Now that she has received iLink in both eyes, Emily is living her life without worrying about her disease progressing. She’s able to enjoy her days at school and hopes to get fitted for hard contact lenses soon to help improve her vision. Meanwhile, she is incredibly grateful to have slowed or halted the progression of her keratoconus with iLink.

Find a Doctor/ Physician (Performing iLink

Search our physician locator to find a corneal specialist who is familiar with treating progressive keratoconus.

The results described on this site are based on data collected regarding short- and intermediate-term efficacy of treatment. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.

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Important Safety Information

Ulcerative keratitis, a potentially serious eye infection, can occur. Your doctor should monitor defects in the outermost corneal layer of the eye for resolution.

The most common ocular side effect is haze. Other ocular side effects include inflammation, fine white lines, dry eye, disruption of surface cells, eye pain, light sensitivity, reduced sharpness of vision, and blurred vision. The risk information provided here is not comprehensive. To learn more, talk to your healthcare provider.

Go to Prescribing Info to obtain the FDA-approved product labeling.

You are encouraged to report all side effects to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Approved Uses

Photrexa® Viscous (riboflavin 5’-phosphate in 20% dextran ophthalmic solution) and Photrexa® (riboflavin 5’-phosphate ophthalmic solution) are used with the KXL® System in corneal cross-linking to treat eyes in which the cornea, the clear dome shaped surface that covers the front of the eye, has been weakened from the progression of the disease keratoconus or following refractive surgery, a method for correcting or improving your vision.

Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.