iLink® Corneal cross-linking in Tampa at the Bay Area Eye Institute

iLink® corneal cross-linking, a medical procedure that combines the use of ultra-violet (UV) light and riboflavin (vitamin B2) eye drops was approved by the FDA in 2016.

iLink corneal cross-linking in Tampa Bay area, Florida with ophthalmologist, Craig Berger, MD

KXL® system for corneal cross-linking by Glaukos

Dr. Craig Berger is excited to offer iLink FDA-approved corneal collagen cross-linking with the Glaukos KXL system for progressive keratoconus in his Tampa Bay, Florida ophthalmology practice!

iLink Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking:

  • Creates new corneal collagen cross-links
  • Results in a shortening and thickening of the collagen fibrils
  • Leads to the stiffening of the cornea and stabilization of the disease

Corneal cross-linking provides patients a much-needed option to treat this site-threatening disease. Patients suffering from progressive keratoconus can now receive a therapeutic treatment that has been rigorously tested and approved.

Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking Results:

Clinical trials demonstrated that the iLink cross-linking procedure is effective in slowing or halting the progression of keratoconus. In the study that led to the FDA-approval of iLink, patients who did not undergo cross-linking continued to progress, while patients who underwent iLink cross-linking did not progress.

How Does iLink Corneal Collagen Cross-Linking work?

Using specially formulated pharmaceutical-strength riboflavin eye drops called Photrexa® (riboflavin 5’-phosphate ophthalmic solution) and Photrexa® Viscous (riboflavin 5’-phosphate in 20% dextran ophthalmic solution), combined with ultraviolet light from the KXL system, the iLink procedure stiffens and strengthens the cornea to slow or halt the progression of keratoconus and preserve vision.Corneal cross-linking for keratoconus treatment with iLink from Glaukos.

Since FDA approval in 2016, Dr. Craig Berger and his experienced team have helped hundreds of progressive keratoconus patients with this minimally invasive in office treatment.

Proven to halt progression, corneal collagen cross-linking for keratoconus is AVAILABLE at the Bay Area Eye Institute in Tampa, Florida.

Experience matters when choosing where to have your cross-linking. Dr. Berger is a cornea fellowship trained surgeon with over 20 years of experience caring for keratoconus patients. He has successfully treated hundreds of progressive keratoconus patients with cross-linking to slow or halt the progression of their disease and preserve their vision.


Approximately 10% of people with KC have affected relatives
Affects all ethnicities & both genders
Typically first diagnosed in young people at puberty or in their late teens but can affect older adults too
An estimated 5-30% of people with Down syndrome are also affected by keratoconus

Call (813) 265-6940 to schedule an appointment today for your keratoconus evaluation and find out if the iLink cross-linking procedure may be right for you!

Corneal Cross-Linking Frequently Asked Questions

The medical necessity of iLink has become widely recognized. As a result, commercial insurance coverage for the procedure is now over 95% in the United States.

Bay Area Eye Institute Insurance participation

After cross-linking, most individuals will need about five to seven days to recover before returning to work or school.  During the first month, vision will fluctuate and there may be mild headaches as a result.  The use of artificial tears every few hours while on the computer or while reading will help with any discomfort.

You may use electronics as soon as it is comfortable for you. You do not have to limit these activities as they will not cause any harm.

If you are currently wearing contacts, you may resume wearing them after the corneal epithelium heals and the bandage contact lens is removed by your doctor. This usually occurs around day four or five.

Everyone has some degree of light sensitivity. It is normal for your vision to be blurry about a week after the procedure. Fluctuations can last up to a year but tend to improve over the first few months. Discomfort is usually mild. For the first week or so, a burning and foreign body sensation is very common. Rarely some patients will have significant pain. Pain medication will be prescribed for any post-operative pain that you experience. Most of these symptoms improve during the first few days after your procedure.

We recommend waiting a minimum of three months before updating your eyeglasses and/or contact lenses if possible.  They can be updated sooner, but changes in your prescription will likely be needed with additional expense.

FDA studies show 88% of patients will stabilize (not progress) after a single treatment.  Longterm studies show that it is effective for at least 10 years, possibly a lifetime.  Approximately 12% of patients can progress after one treatment.  If this occurs, the procedure can be easily and safely repeated.

Each case/person is different, but if your second eye is progressing, it can usually be treated two to three months after the first eye is treated. This will depend on many factors.

No swimming or hot tub use is allowed until after your epithelium heals completely and your bandage contact lens is removed by your doctor.  This usually occurs around day four or five.  Exercising as tolerated is perfectly fine following your procedure.

You should expect lots of fluctuations in your vision during the first two to three months after your procedure. Initially, your vision will be blurry, then can improve at about a week but many patients experience a decrease in vision at about four to six weeks. Then, your vision can improve at two to three months and beyond.

Epithelium-off is the only FDA-approved version of the procedure at this time.  The epithelium is gently removed at the start of the procedure to allow penetration of the riboflavin and oxygen required for the cross-linking to occur. Epithelium on is currently experimental and leaves the outer layer of the cornea intact.

You can shower and wash your face as long as you do not get any water directly in your eyes.  Makeup should be avoided for the first week until the epithelium completely heals.

If you get something in your eye in the first week, please do not rub it. We recommend you gently irrigate your eye with preservative-free artificial tears.

Case Studies

Case #1

34-year-old male diagnosed with progressive keratoconus and irregular astigmatism with very poor vision.


Vision in his left eye: 20/400

TREATMENT:  iLink corneal cross-linking


Vision in his left eye: 20/70

Case #2

43-year-old female diagnosed with progressive keratoconus and irregular astigmatism, long-term scleral contact lens wearer.


Vision in her left eye: 20/50

TREATMENT:  iLink corneal cross-linking


Vision in her left eye: 20/30

Cross-linking testimonial

“My boyfriend who has Keratoconus for years. Just recently become a patient of Dr Berger. I must say that Dr Berger who is also a medical doctor, is excellent and kind. Even though it seems that he is a man with a few words, he is clear and precise with his care. Vision is very important. Yet, there are very few eye doctors there who actually care because eyes are not theirs that they have to care for.

My boyfriend becomes his patient because of the progress of his condition (Keratoconus). Unlike the others, most eye doctors and staff who will normally say “just avoid sunlight” or “put more eye drops in” , Dr Berger looks into his “eyes” carefully and treat them with caution. We did make the choice to have the first cross linking procedure. He is healing so far. I am confident that the outcome will be great and he will be ready for the next one (for the other eye).

I believe that Dr Berger has very keen medical judgement and genuine concerns for patients. I would highly recommend him to any of my loved ones. On top of that, his staff is the A-team. I can’t name all the staff at his office. Yet, they are all beyond exceptional. After all, I am writing to say thank you because with the stress that I was going through with my loved one who could potentially lose sight/vision, I am grateful that having this whole team by our sides. (As I am also in the healthcare field for over ten years as a registered nurse, I sincerely would like giving credit to Dr Berger and his group of staff on this platform.)”

Thank you!   ~W.S.

B. J. (Verified Patient)★★★★★Sep 05, 2020 I had the cross linking procedure done to aid in slowing the progression of my keratoconus and I am so thankful that this procedure was completed! My vision has improved significantly! I am thankful to Dr. Berger and the team for giving me hope about my vision. I’m extremely grateful :) A. G. (Verified Patient)★★★★★Aug 31, 2020 Dr. Berger is great he performed a cross linking procedure to help treat my keratoconus and my vision has significantly improved. Lisa and Chad are very awesome along with the rest of the staff and I’m glad I am a patient here. E. B. (Verified Patient)★★★★★Aug 26, 2020 Always on time. Great service and friendly staff. Dr. Berger is the best. J. A. (Verified Patient)★★★★★Aug 12, 2020 The cross linking procedure was not as dranatic as I expected, which was great. The doctor made sure I was 100% comfortable before we began and Myra, the technician who stays with you throughout the procedure was a blessing. She really made the experience as soothing and relaxing as possible. Im a glad I drove as far as I did for this procedure with Dr. Berger. Highly recommend his office and staff. V. C. (Verified Patient)★★★★★Aug 10, 2020 Dr.Craig es un profesional altamente calificado . Yo estoy bajo su cuidado desde hace un año por la condición de re sequedad ocular y me ha realizado tratamientos que han mejorado en un 70% o más Esta condición. Su práctica cuenta con equipos de alta tecnología, la práctica tiene un trabajo bien coordinado lo que hace fluido el trabajo y acorta la estadía de los pacientes en la clínica. No me arrepiento de haber elegido a Dr.Craig y a Bay Area Eye Instituto para el cuidado de mi vista S. M. (Verified Patient)★★★★★Jul 23, 2020 Dr Berger and staff are very knowledgeable and helpful. I have had several eye surgeries and highly recommended them. J. S. (Verified Patient)★★★★★Jul 14, 2020 Dr. Berger and staff were extremely helpful and accommodating. Made the CXL procedure a breeze. M. M. (Verified Patient)★★★★★Jul 09, 2020 Clean, Covid-19 steps in place, all staff informative and courtious. Overall great experience. J. A. (Verified Patient)★★★★★Jul 08, 2020 This place is Amazing, the staff is awesome! Everyone is friendly and very helpful! I had Corneal cross-linking done here by Dr. Berger, this place is awesome!!

Corneal cross-linking procedure steps – Slide show

Corneal cross-linking procedure steps – Slide show