Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Corneal Collagen Cross Linking in the Military a Game Changer

Image of Corneal collagen cross-linking, known as CXL, the first and only treatment to date that is proven to stop Keratoconus, KCN, progression. Corneal collagen cross-linking, known as CXL, the first and only treatment to date that is proven to stop Keratoconus, KCN, progression.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

For years, Keratoconus has been a disqualifying condition in the military, and a reason why refractive surgery is often denied to service members.

Keratoconus (pronounced Keh·ruh·tow·kow·nuhs), or KCN, is an eye condition where the front part of the eye (cornea) gradually thins out and bulges causing irregularity and blurred vision.

KCN may result from eye rubbing. It has also been linked to sleep apnea, asthma, allergy, eczema, vernal conjunctivitis, floppy eyelid syndrome, connective tissue disorders, or a family history of KCN. Historically, the primary treatment for KCN was contact lenses when eyeglasses were not sufficient to correct the irregular astigmatism. Severe cases were treated with corneal transplantation.

Navy Capt. (Dr.) John Cason, prior ophthalmology specialty leader and refractive surgery advisor, stated that, he reviewed about 2 to 5 sailor applicants per month for possible waiver for accession into the military due to KCN.

In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration approved corneal collagen cross-linking, known as CXL. This is the first and only treatment proven to stop KCN progression.

Air Force Col. (Dr.) Matthew Caldwell, ophthalmology consultant to the Air Force Surgeon General, called CXL a "readiness game changer." He noted that "KCN is of special interest to the military as the age range of impact nearly exactly overlaps years of active-duty service." The onset can happen before or after acceptance into the military when screening is too late.

"KCN impacts the ability to deploy and can degrade vision excluding careers in aviation, Special Forces, and in severe cases, even less visually intensive administrative work," added Caldwell.

Since the FDA approval, hundreds of service members have been treated with CXL. And a majority of these have been able to retain their military careers.

Air Force Col. (Dr.) Joseph Giovannini, cornea specialist at the David-Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base in California stated, "I have seen several military careers saved by the procedure."

Air Force Capt. Lowell DePalma, an aviator who had bilateral CXL, backed up Giovannini, "CXL has allowed me to keep my job and helped my future eye exams to be more predictable."

Currently, ophthalmology consultants are able to recommend acceptance waivers for military candidates with early KCN as long as they are able to show stability after CXL procedure.

"CXL has offered the possibility of military service for a group of candidates with mild symptoms from KCN," stated Cason. In the past, these volunteers didn't have the option of continued service due to restrictive guidelines that did not offer any flexibility with treatment. CXL has given these people the possibility of treatment, stability, and a future military service that were previously denied."

In the future, CXL may also significantly expand the options of vision-enhancing refractive surgery. In the past, service members with abnormal corneal scans were disqualified from refractive surgery. However, over the past decade, CXL plus refractive surgery outcomes have been favorable.

"The advent of CXL has helped tremendously to retain highly trained individuals and increase the applicant pool for the armed services," explained Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) James Townley, refractive surgery consultant to the Surgeon General of the Air Force.

As technology continues to advance, the use of CXL and refractive surgery will help more service members remain on active duty.

All authored materials constitute the personal statements of the names listed above and are not intended to constitute an endorsement by the Unites States Air Force or any other Federal Government entity

You also may be interested in...

Medical readiness exercise provides real world humanitarian relief to local Moroccan population

Article Around MHS
7/11/2022
Medical readiness exercise provides real-world humanitarian relief to local Moroccan population

The Utah Army National Guard Medical Detachment, the U.S. Army 30th Medical Brigade, and the Royal Moroccan Army collaborated to provide real-world humanitarian assistance to the local population here while simultaneously conducting medical readiness training during African Lion 2022.

Recommended Content:

Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief | Health Readiness & Combat Support

137th SOMDG Medical Personnel Conduct SPP Visit to Azerbaijan

Article Around MHS
7/8/2022
Military medical personnel conducting simulation

Members of the Air Force's 137th Special Operations Medical Group (SOMDG) traveled to Azerbaijan to conduct a combat casualty care knowledge exchange with Azerbaijan Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC) Battalion doctors and medical noncommissioned officers during a State Partnership Program (SPP) visit to Baku, Azerbaijan in late June.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

Wagging tails and smiling faces: Therapy dogs bring comfort to Medical Center staff

Article Around MHS
7/6/2022
Military personnel with support dog

Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune staff are receiving comfort and support from four-legged friends. For the past several months, Beasley the Basset Hound, has been making her rounds in her Red Cross volunteer vest, providing treats for humans in the form of pets and cuddles.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Psychological Fitness

Army Experts: Rabies Risk is Not Worth It

Article
7/5/2022
Army Experts: Rabies Risk is Not Worth It

Almost 60,000 people around the world die from rabies each year. Despite the common belief that rabid animals are easily identified by foaming at the mouth and aggressive behavior, infected animals may not look sick or act strangely.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health | Rabies

Operational Readiness Training A Littoral Away for NMRTC Bremerton Corpsmen

Article Around MHS
7/5/2022
Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Don Wilwayco

NMRTC Bremerton has formed a unique partnership to help ensure there’s a ready medical force capable of supporting fleet mission – and medical - readiness.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Health Readiness & Combat Support

Task Force Med Soldiers compete in Crusader Challenge during Kosovo deployment

Article Around MHS
7/1/2022
Military medical personnel in rescue drill

Army Soldiers with the 547th Medical Company (Area Support), 56th Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 62nd Medical Brigade, participate in Crusader Challenge 2022.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

Final Days in Afghanistan: Lab Techs Stepped Up to Support Withdrawal

Article
6/30/2022
Final Days in Afghanistan Lab Techs Stepped Up to Support Withdrawal

“Prior to the attack, teams were preparing to leave the area. Suddenly, everything changed, and our main goal shifted from COVID-19 support to blood supply and triage.”

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

Provider Soldiers Learn Mental Health First Aid

Article Around MHS
6/30/2022
Military personnel in classroom

Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division and members of the unit Soldier and Family Readiness Group, participated in the Mental Health First Aid training in Hinesville, Georgia

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Health Readiness & Combat Support

Beating the Stigma: Workhorse Battalion and H2F Team Up to Improve Physical Readiness

Article Around MHS
6/24/2022
Military personnel bench pressing

To help counter that stigma of being "broken", the 10th Division Sustainment Troops Battalion “Workhorse,” 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade, and the brigade’s Holistic Health and Fitness team, also known as H2F, joined forces to create the Unbreakable Warrior program, also known as UBW.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Physical Fitness

Four-legged Major Brings Joy to Brooke Army Medical Center

Article Around MHS
6/23/2022
Labrador facility dogs at ceremony

Brooke Army Medical Center commissioned a new, four-legged staff member with a penchant for spreading joy to the rank of United States Army major during a ceremony June 6.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Conditions and Treatments

How Drones Will Transform Battlefield Medicine – and Save Lives

Article
6/23/2022
Drones carrying fresh blood products to wounded troops on the front lines may be critical for military medicine in a conflict against a "near-peer" adversary.

Emerging technology may use drones to deliver blood products for wounded troops on the front lines of combat. That capability may be critical in a "near-peer" conflict.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support

How MHS GENESIS will become essential to patients' health journey

Article
6/21/2022
Dr. Robert Marshall, program director of the Department of Defense Clinical Informatics Fellowship at Madigan Army Medical Center.

Ensuring proper training of both providers and patients is essential for the successful integration and sustainment of MHS GENESIS into MHS care.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Health Care Technology | MHS GENESIS Toolkit | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

Army, Navy Public Health Officials Collect Weapon System-related Health Hazard Data in Support of Blast Overpressure Exposure Assessment

Article Around MHS
6/21/2022
Military personnel by M777 Howitzer

A team of scientists and engineers from the U.S. Army Public Health Center and the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center recently traveled to Fort Carson to conduct a Joint Service Member Occupational Health Assessment, also known as a JSOHA, of the M777 Howitzer—a weapon that is routinely used in military training and combat operations.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Health Readiness & Combat Support

LRMC CNS Fuels Progression in Military Medicine

Article Around MHS
6/17/2022
military personnel in neonatal care class

Army Maj. Rebeccah Dindinger serves as a Clinical Nurse Specialists at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Women's Health

Protecting Your Hearing and Vision is a Personal Readiness Mission

Photo
6/14/2022
Protecting Your Hearing and Vision is a Personal Readiness Mission

Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Dominique Campbell drives a forklift on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) during a vertical replenishment. She is wearing proper hearing and vision protection.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 16 - 30 Page 2 of 38
Refine your search
Last Updated: June 03, 2022

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.