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Keratoconus Journey: Beverley

Most consumers are familiar with LASIK as an eye surgery used to correct vision so glasses or contact lenses are no longer necessary. Beverley Annan, a human resources professional who also enjoys playing sports, went to see her eye doctor in 2012 to see if LASIK was an option for her – not only so she could stop wearing glasses, but to hopefully resolve the vision problems she’d been experiencing for many years. Growing up in her native Ghana, West Africa, Beverley could not see the chalkboard at school, so she had to move to the front of the class. She was hopeful that her eye doctor would be able to determine why she always saw things differently from those around her or felt like she was seeing out of four eyes instead of two. Unfortunately, at the appointment, she was told that LASIK was not an option because her cornea was too thin.

The possibility of common astigmatism was there as that had been the recurring diagnosis since 2013, even when she moved to Piermont, New York, Greensboro, North Carolina, and now Kansas City, Missouri. She was given a new eyeglasses prescription each time, which didn’t improve her vision. In 2014, after hearing that nothing had ever made a difference in her patient’s vision, Beverley’s doctor did a topography test to chart the landscape of the cornea, which showed without a doubt that Beverley had keratoconus (KC). This explained why she could not have LASIK surgery – as a weakening or thinning of the cornea is a telltale sign of KC.

While she experienced a “bumpy journey” that finally led to the KC diagnosis, Beverley now felt that a lot of things made sense – the vision challenges most of her life, the frequent changes to her eyeglass prescriptions, her family and loved ones pointing things out she simply could not see, and being told she had a thin cornea. But reality set in that KC is a progressive disease characterized by a cone-like shape of the cornea that distorts vision, so she needed to act quickly. Her eye doctor in Kansas City suggested scleral contact lenses that are hard and shaped to accommodate the cornea, but Beverley was terrified about putting something in her eyes every day.

Several years and a move to Nashville later, another eye test was conducted that showed Beverley’s vision was getting worse, and this time the doctor recommended iLink®, the first and only FDA-approved corneal cross-linking procedure that slows or halts the progression of KC. Beverley learned about the procedure and how it would strengthen and stiffen the cornea in both eyes – starting with her left eye which was worse, and then the right. She also learned that she would need to wear scleral lenses after all to help her see better.

The iLink cross-linking procedure involves removing the epithelial layer of the cornea and applying prescription eye drops and UV light; being educated about each step was something Beverley needed to feel as comfortable as possible. She worked with a therapist to prepare for being awake during the procedure, learned some breathing exercises, and put together a playlist to listen to as a distraction that included “every song that can make you feel stronger from Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, Kojo Antwi, Guns and Roses, with one or two gospel songs sprinkled in.”  Beverley also added music that people she loves like to listen to for additional strength and inspiration.

Now that she has had the iLink procedure in both eyes and is wearing her scleral contact lenses, Beverley’s vision is much better. Considering what she experienced over decades, her advice is this:

  • For parents, listen to your children when they say they are having trouble seeing. Ask specifically what they see rather than dismissing it as something else – the sooner the better.
  • For people experiencing vision problems, make sure both eyes are checked regularly. I would recommend checking each eye separately and to know that one eye may be adjusting or overcompensating for the other eye.
  • Don’t rub your eyes. A major contributor to KC is eye rubbing. It’s a natural thing that people do without thinking. Understand the root cause of why you want to rub your eyes, such as fatigue, eye strain, allergies, or something else, and find a way to stop rubbing your eyes.
  • If you frequently change your eyeglass prescription or you don’t notice the difference between two lenses, ask your eye doctor about KC and request a topography test. KC is a progressive disease, so it must be diagnosed and treated early.
  • Do whatever you need to do to feel confident about the iLink cross-linking procedure. I carefully researched eye doctors, understood about the treatment, and prepared ahead to ensure my comfort before, during, and after the procedure.

Looking back, Beverley spent years not knowing what she could not see and emphasizes now how proper vision has made a huge difference in her life.

Find a Cross-Linking Doctor Near You

Search the directory to locate a cross-linking doctor 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.