or years, people with only minor vision problems, like near or far-sightedness, were left without a long-term solution. Their eyesight wasn’t bad enough to warrant the costs and risks of a complex procedure such as laser vision surgery.

“They fell between the cracks,” says Dr. Christoph Kranemann, Ophthalmologist and Medical Director at Toronto’s Clearview Vision Institute. “It’s exciting to be able to provide a new, totally non-invasive procedure to help these patients. This procedure is at the leading edge of science and medicine, and we’re pleased to offer it at our practice.”

Dr. Kranemann is referring to the PiXL™ refractive procedure, which stands for photo-refractive intrastromal cross-linking. Though it may sound complicated, its technology is actually very straightforward. Drops containing riboflavin (a type of vitamin B) are applied to the eyes for 10 minutes or so, then followed by ultraviolet light which is customized to suit the individual’s sight concerns.

The combination helps strengthen and reshape the cornea, the outermost layer of the eye, to help significantly improve vision. The entire treatment takes between 20–30 minutes, depending on the level of correction needed. Patients only need to continue using drops and wearing sunglasses for a week afterwards when outdoors.

A new solution now available

PiXL™ is a non-invasive, gentle procedure with minimal risks. Plus, there’s no incision or direct contact with the eye. While it’s quite new to North America (currently only offered in Canada at the Clearview Vision Institute), it is available in numerous centres in Europe, Australia, and Asia. Cross-linking is well established, clinically tested technology, and similar to one used since 2003 in Europe as a treatment for keratoconus, a progressive eye disease causing distorted vision. PiXL™ is not yet available in the U.S. 

Now, those who wear contact lenses and prescription glasses have a new option.  “It’s important to have a variety of solutions for different people who have varying comfort levels,” explains Dr. Kranemann. For some people, the thought of laser eye surgery evokes fear. This is a more comfortable alternative — and one that costs 30–40 percent less.

Dr. Rajesh Rajpal, an ophthalmologist and chief medical officer at Avedro (a U.S. pharmaceutical and medical device company based near Boston), has been at the forefront of clinical studies for cross-linking research as one of its first investigators in clinical trials. He’s an expert in the fields of corneal, cataract, and refractive surgery who has seen firsthand the impact of the new PiXL™ procedure on patients who find corrective glasses or lenses inconvenient, interfering with daily activities.

“The patients are extremely pleased with the outcome,” Dr. Rajpal explains. “It allows them to improve their vision greatly with a very mild, safe, easy-to-get-through procedure which is a great option for patients who may have been nervous about surgical approaches.”

Is this non-invasive PiXL™ treatment right for you? Dr. Kranemann suggests prospective candidates consult with their eye doctor — one who offers a full range of procedures. He or she can explain the pros and cons of each, their expected outcomes, safety, and risk.

The good news for anyone with vision concerns is there are new and effective alternatives available — clear choices which put the future of sight in sharp focus.