World Keratoconus Treatment Authority
Inventor of 1st Non-Invasive Cornea Collagen Crosslinking (since 2003)
Intacs® treatment for Keratoconus • Holcomb C3-R® treatment to strengthen the cornea
CK for astigmatism reduction
Fixing Keratoconus since 1999!
  Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD 465 N. Roxbury Drive, Suite 902 Beverly Hills, CA 90210 - Phone: 310.594.5210   

How Holcomb C3-R® Was Developed
Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD

The first 1998 publication of crosslinking was with epithelium removal and it showed ability to stabilize the disease, but it reported pain in recovery and corneal swelling side effects (future studies would show many more side effects from epithelium-removal crosslinking such as corneal ulcers, cornea haze, very slow recovery, partial loss of vision, etc). Nonetheless after this publication, there was one peculiar thing: no one was performing crosslinking. The publication was out there, but went largely unnoticed by the ophthalmology community and medical societies. It was the equivalent of a "silent shot in the dark." Not one doctor around the world seemed to notice this publication in 1998, except one doctor: myself.

I was fascinated when I read this study as I was already was pioneering the use of Intacs® for Keratoconus as an alternative to invasive corneal transplants that carry significant risks. After my own research into crosslinking, I quickly realized that scaping off the epithelium will cause a lot of pain during the recovery and other potential problems. I thought, "there MUST be a better way!"

I worked to develop a way to perform crosslinking WITHOUT needing to do the invasive step of scraping off the cornea's epithelium top layer (aka transepithelial crosslinking). After many, many nights working on this after hours, I finally discovered a method to obtain successful results. Was it possible to have a completely non-invasive, transepithelial (epithelium-on) procedure that stops Keratoconus in its tracks without the risks that epithelium removal crosslinking inherently carries? The answer was a resounding "YES!" After this discovery, I could hardly sleep that night in 2003.

I remember very vividly our first patient. He is a very famous movie producer in Hollywood (due to patient privacy, I cannot mention his name, but you would know his movies and the A-list stars of those movies), He unfortunately had Keratoconus develop after LASIK. I explained the nature of this new procedure that I invented. (I hadn't given it a name then). He was open to it and trusted me. The results were incredible: we stopped his Keratoconus from progressing and he was very happy. And best of all: he was back at the work the very next day after the procedure, no discomfort, no time off work, no change in his life. It was amazing, just a one day recovery.

I discussed with my wife Selina my excitement. On a plane flight with Selina shortly afterwards, I explained the nature of the procedure and that it needed to have a simple name. It would be hard for people to say: riboflavin in the cornea for collagen crosslinking. A lot of great ideas have been written on the back of a napkin. I suppose we can add the naming of this procedure to that list. Years ago I learned a process to help with creativity. You draw the words of interest in a circle and then keep looking at the words. Usually with time the solution will hit you. On the back of a United Airlines napkin I did this with Selina at my side.

Suddenly, the name of the procedure jumped out like a jack-in-box from the circle of words: C3-R®. There were three words with letter "C" (corneal collagen crosslinking) and one word with "R" (riboflavin). Eventually I obtained a United States Trademark for C3-R®. Since the C3-R® procedure is distinctly different from invasive epithelium removal crosslinking and other "home grown" epithelium-on crosslinking that some other doctors are trying to do now, I wanted to be sure we protected our established crosslinking C3-R® brand that uses a proprietary Crosslinking Solution (that contains riboflavin and other compounds). By doing this, the proprietary C3-R® procedure could never be confused with less desirable or unproven crosslinking techniques. C3-R® now has over 10 years behind it. Since 2003, people know and trust C3-R® since it has stood the test of time and has a Gold medal behind it.

Why trademark C3-R®?  It's like with Coke® that is a protected brand owned by The Coca-Cola Company. When you buy a Coke®, you know exactly what you're getting. You know it won't taste different from what you expect. You know Coke® is made from the secret formula locked in a vault somewhere deep in The Coca-Cola Company headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. You know if you buy a Coke, it's not an unauthentic knockoff from another company – they can’t call their cola "Coke" because The Coca-Cola Company owns the trademark for Coke®. These are all the same reasons that C3-R® is trademarked (and yes, our secret formula for our Crosslinking Solution is also locked in a vault). People know with C3-R® they are getting the "real thing."


In 2007, our Keratoconus patient Steven Holcomb, the top bobsled driver for the United States team, regained 20/20 vision from C3-R® and Visian ICL and came back from vision-related retirement. He won Gold in 2010 at Vancouver, the first Gold for the U.S. in 62 years. On April 9, 2010 when Steven and I were on Dr. Phil's The Doctors television show, I announced the name modification of "C3-R®" to "Holcomb C3-R®" in honor of Steven Holcomb. This marked the first time in history that a treatment for a disease was named after a Gold Medal athlete who made the treatment world-famous. Because of the massive media exposure about Steven's accomplishment and his comeback from Keratoconus, people around the world now know there are options besides invasive and painful cornea transplants.

Warmest regards,

Dr. Brian





Sitemap |  Privacy - Copyright© Advanced Vision Education, LLC., 2015

This website is designed to provide general information about vision, vision care and vision correction. It is not intended to provide medical advice. If you suspect that you have a vision problem or a condition that requires attention, consult an eyecare professional for advice on the treatment of your own specific condition and for your own particular needs.



Receive a FREE Copy of Dr. Brian's New Keratoconus Book!

Dr. Brian's third Keratoconus book, "HOW WE CONQUERED KERATOCONUS" was recently released.

Only the first 37 people to request a copy will receive the book for free. Please click the button below to claim your copy:


Patient Stories Video

Click to View News Videos

Read Articles About Steven’s Comeback

Listen to our latest podcast!


Copyright© Advanced Vision Education, LLC., 2015

Brian S. Boxer Wachler, M.D. - 465 N. Roxbury Drive, Suite 902 - Beverly Hills, CA 90210 - 310.860.1900