Eye drops, oxygen and light for better sight.

Are you wary of having laser eye surgery for vision correction? Now there is a new non-invasive procedure that uses eye drops and UV light. It’s called PiXL and it is suitable for people with low amounts of myopia. 

PiXL stands for Photorefractive Intrastromal Cross Linking

PiXL uses a procedure called Corneal Collagen Cross Linking (CXL) to reshape the cornea (the front of the eye) and correct vision. CXL is a well-established procedure which has been used throughout the world for the last 18 years to treat a medical condition of the eye called keratoconus. CXL has been shown in multiple medical studies to be safe in treating keratoconus, and now with advances in technology it can be used for vision correction.

No Laser Surgery Required

All other existing methods for permanent vision correction involve the use of lasers to reshape the cornea by removing small amounts of corneal tissue. By contrast PiXL uses only Vitamin B eye drops, oxygen and UV light to reshape the cornea. No corneal tissue is cut or removed and the cornea is strengthened rather than weakened following PiXL.

If you have been put off having permanent vision correction because of concerns about having an invasive surgical procedure then PiXL may be suitable for you.

Who is suitable for PiXL?

PiXL is currently being used to treat lower degrees of myopia (short sightedness), up to -2 dioptres. Treatment of astigmatism and long sight are currently under investigation. If your eyes are suitable for laser eye surgery and you have a lower amount of short sight then it is likely you may be suitable for PiXL.

Who is unlikely to be suitable for PiXL?

At this point in time if you have had any previous corneal surgery such as laser surgery, a corneal transplant or radial keratotomy, have had a cold sore on the eye or have keratoconus you would not be considered a candidate for PiXL.

Why choose PiXL?

PiXL is an exciting option for people who are frightened of having laser eye surgery or whose prescription is so low that they don’t feel laser eye surgery is justified.   PiXL may be the best procedure to reduce their dependence on glasses or contact lenses.

How is PiXL performed?

PiXL uses Vitamin B eye drops, oxygen and a computer-controlled UV light to correct vision. Anaesthetic eye drops are used at the start of PiXL and the procedure is painless.  The procedure involves 2 steps.

  • After anaesthetic eye drops are placed on the eye, it is soaked with Vitamin B eye drops.
  • UV light is shone on the cornea while a mask supplies a high concentration of oxygen around the eye. This strengthens the centre of the cornea, causing it to flatten and correct myopia.

What are the advantages of PiXL compared to laser eye surgery?

PiXL is almost totally non-invasive. No corneal tissue is cut or removed.

What are the disadvantages of PiXL compared to laser eye surgery?

  • The procedure takes longer to perform than laser surgery.
  • Visual recovery is slower. It normally takes 1 to 4 weeks for vision to stabilise. While this is occurring, you may still need to wear your glasses.
  • Long term results for the procedure are not available yet.  Published results available in 2018 show that vision is stable at 1 year after the PiXL procedure, but longer-term outcomes are not yet available. However, PiXL uses a form of CXL which has been used to treat keratoconus patients for 18 years.  CXL has been shown to maintain its effects with no long-term side effects occurring over that period. For that reason, we believe that PiXL will provide safe and permanent vision correction. 

What are the risks of PiXL?

No serious complications have been reported following PiXL surgery, although the number of people treated is still low. Possible risks include the following:

  • Infection. The risk of infection following laser eye surgery is very low, less than 1 in 5,000 cases, and the risk of infection following PiXL is likely to be less than that figure because it does not involve cutting tissue or the use of surgical instruments. At this time no infections have been reported following PiXL, although the total number of eyes treated is still low.
  • Loss of effect over time. We do not have long term data on PiXL, so we cannot be certain that vision improvement will be maintained. However, based on experience with the use of CXL to treat keratoconus, we believe that the effect of PiXL will be permanent. Finally, because PiXL does not involve cutting or removing corneal tissue, if the effect of PiXL is lost in the future other suitable vision correction procedures may be able to be performed.

The Wellington Eye Centre has been at the forefront of advances in refractive surgery for the last 20 years having introduced the use of LASIK, EPI-LASIK and SMILE in New Zealand. We are thrilled to be one of the first laser clinics in the world to offer safe, non-invasive PiXL for vision correction. If you are interested in having PiXL to improve your vision then contact us to book a medical assessment today.