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Keratoconus Journey: Diana

At 14 years old, Diana found herself squinting to see the board at school and while watching television in the comfort of her own home. Her family saw she was struggling to see so they made an appointment at a local eye doctor to find out what was wrong with her eyes. At that time, Diana was prescribed glasses to help her see more clearly, but unfortunately, as the years went on, the lenses never seemed to really help improve her vision. It wasn’t until a decade later Diana discovered the root of her vision issues: she was living with progressive keratoconus.

Trying to Balance it All

As a 25-year-old working mother of two, Diana’s vision issues were causing her to struggle at work as a family service worker. She spent many days in front of the computer and had difficulty in meetings trying to see the board, which caused headaches and discomfort. Ultimately, Diana decided to leave her career and become a stay-at-home mom to be with her 6-year-old and 2-year-old. Diana was constantly worried about her family’s health and wellness over her own, cutting back on her personal struggles to focus on her children.

However, her vision continued to decline and it got to a point where Diana could no longer ignore her eye issues. When she drove at night the headlights bothered her eyes, making it difficult for her to navigate where she was driving. Even relaxing at home was a chore and she couldn’t enjoy watching television because of the strain it was putting on her eyes and the extreme headaches and forehead pain she was suffering from. Diana soon reached her breaking point. Finally, wanting to get to the root cause of her eye issues, she made an eye appointment at Omni Eye Specialists where she met with Dr. Meredith Treece.

Searching for Answers

During her appointment with Dr. Treece, Diana underwent a routine eye exam and was ultimately diagnosed with progressive keratoconus in both eyes. The diagnosis surprised Diana because she had no idea what keratoconus was, if there were any treatment options, or what even the next steps following her diagnosis would be. Luckily, Dr. Treece gave Diana ample information about keratoconus, discussing the risks and benefits and recommending that she receive iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking in an effort to slow or halt the progression of her condition.

 Before leaving the practice, Dr. Treece provided Diana with a referral to Dr. Lisa V. Sitterson at Carolina Eye Associates. Without hesitation, Diana was willing to travel the extra two hours to see Dr. Sitterson to gain even more clarity on her diagnosis and learn more about iLink®. During her visit with Dr. Sitterson, Diana began to feel comfortable about the procedure and agreed that cross-linking was the best option for her. Before leaving the office, Diana was scheduled to receive FDA-approved cross-linking exactly a week later.

Preparation Is Key

Diana felt a new sense of relief now that things were moving in the right direction and she had her FDA-approved cross-linking procedure scheduled. Prior to the procedure, she was prescribed antibiotics from Dr. Sitterson to help prepare her for recovery from iLink®, which she received in July 2021 in her right eye. A few weeks later, Diana checked in with Dr. Sitterson, and the pair scheduled Diana’s second iLink® procedure on her left eye in September 2021. While Diana experienced some minor pain or discomfort, looking back, she believes that being prepared for any potential discomfort in advance was the key to her successful recovery after both procedures.

A Hopeful Future

Once Diana recovered from her procedures, she went back to Dr. Treece’s office and was fitted for scleral lenses to help manage her vision. Now that Diana’s keratoconus has been treated with iLink® and she has been properly fitted with lenses, she feels more confident going about her daily activities with her children, knowing that her condition has been slowed or halted.

After learning about keratoconus and being the first person in her family to be diagnosed with the progressive condition, Diana understood that it could, in fact, be hereditary. She has now made it a priority to keep up with her children’s eye health, making sure her kids get their eyes checked regularly and watching to see if they rub their eyes excessively, as that could be a sign of keratoconus. Diana recommends that everyone stays on top of their eye health and if you’re living with progressive keratoconus and iLink® FDA-approved cross-linking is an option for you, Diana suggests following through with the procedure to help slow or halt its progression and also recommends discussing all the risks of the procedure, such as haze or inflammation, with your doctor so you know what to expect.

Find a Cornea Cross-Linking Specialist Near You:

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.