Corneal Collagen Cross Linking (CCXL) for keratoconus has been added to the Medicare Benefits Scheme from 1 May 2018.
Keratoconus causes a person’s cornea to change shape over time, often resulting in blurry vision and impacting people’s ability to undertake everyday tasks, in particular causing difficulty driving at night.
Bright lights can start to appear streaked, glare and halos can appear around lights, and over time visual function can become progressively worse making it difficult to go about daily life.
In Australia, people with keratoconus often require corneal transplantation, which, while often necessary, is a complex and invasive procedure that requires donor corneas to be available and has a long recovery period. If these patients are able to undergo timely CCXL, which uses ultra violet (UV) light and drops to help slow the progression of the condition, it is likely that they can avoid corneal transplantation altogether.
This is an important step that brings an innovative and effective treatment option to the many people living with the effects of keratoconus in Australia
“This is an important step that brings an innovative and effective treatment option to the many people living with the effects of keratoconus in Australia,” said Professor Gerard Sutton, Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Cornea Society. “This is a hugely positive and very welcome change”.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) welcomed the decision.
“We are delighted that this important innovation is being made more readily available for those that need it,” said RANZCO President, Associate Professor Mark Daniell.