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Business & Profession Cornea / Ocular Surface, Professional Development

Lighting the Way for Corneal Cross-Linking

At a Glance

  • Keratoconus, a progressive disease that involves corneal thinning and bulging, affects a significant portion of the population, particularly in patients with Down syndrome
  • The disease is best treated early, but a lack of screening and awareness often prevents this
  • Light for Sight’s mission is to increase keratoconus awareness among healthcare providers and ensure that children and adolescents have access to treatment
  • The foundation accomplishes this goal by making connections, providing training, and seeking industry support – an ongoing task

Keratoconus, the progressive thinning and bulging of the cornea, is one of the most common causes of severe visual impairment in young people. A disorder that affects as many as one in every 1,500 people, keratoconus can lead to focusing difficulties, higher-order aberrations and corneal scarring. But it’s possible to reduce the impact of this potentially debilitating disease with proper diagnosis and early corneal collagen cross-linking (CXL) treatment to halt its progression. The best time to treat keratoconus is early in the disease, before significant changes in corneal shape and thickness take place – but to do this, we must overcome two obstacles: one, the lack of routine systematic screening for children and adolescents, and two, a lack of childhood keratoconus awareness among health care professionals.

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About the Author

Nikki-Hafezi

Nikki Hafezi

Nikki Hafezi is the Managing Director and CEO of GroupAdvance Consulting and EMAGine SA, which provide business development and fundraising advice to companies in the medical technology field, and develop, manufacture and market medical products to address unmet ophthalmic needs. She is also in charge of business strategy and development at the ELZA institute, a new eye hospital and research center in Zurich. Her current focus is translating CXL technology to treat infectious keratitis into clinical applications

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