Frank Larkin is a consultant ophthalmologist specialising in corneal diseases and cataracts. He is currently leading research into treatments for keratoconus in children and adolescents. Keratoconus is a disorder in which the cornea becomes progressively thinner causing deterioration in vision. In advanced cases it can lead to corneal transplant surgery to restore sight. The earliest signs of this disease are often found in children.
Corneal collagen crosslinking (CXL), which increases the stiffness of the cornea, is currently the only available treatment to stop progression of the disease, however it is only used in adults. There has been little research into the effectiveness of CXL in children, so Frank Larkin has designed the Keralink trial to investigate the effectiveness and safety of using the CXL technique.
In the under-17 age group, corneal transplantation is the most common treatment for keratoconus and it is hoped that the results of this trial will dramatically reduce the need for corneal transplant surgery. Young patients with early keratoconus are being recruited through the Richard Desmond Children’s Eye Centre (RDCEC) to participate in this trial.
This is exactly the kind of pioneering research that makes the RDCEC such an important facility. Not only does the RDCEC treat children with eye disease now, but the research undertaken benefits future patients from the UK and around the world.
Read more about the Richard Desmond Children's Eye Centre in 'Transforming lives for 10 years'.