Autologous Serum Eye Drops for Severe Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome is a chronic lack of moisture in the eye caused by insufficient tears or poor tear quality. It can lead to irritation and, left untreated, can damage your corneas. While artificial tears and lubricating drops help the majority of patients, others continue to search for relief, especially if their dry eye syndrome is severe. Autologous serum eye drops (ASED) are a possible treatment for intransigent cases of dry eye.
What are Autologous Serum Eye Drops?
Autologous means that the donor and the recipient are the same person. In this case, Autologous Serum Eye Drops (ASED) are made from a patient’s own blood. These drops are found to be highly effective and well-tolerated. They consist of ingredients that artificial tears can’t replicate. They promote healthy growth and healing of the ocular surface ( the cornea) and contain antibodies, albumin, Vitamin A, and special growth factors important for healthy eyes known as epidermal growth factors.
ASEDs are not tear substitutes and are often used alongside other dry eye treatments such as artificial tears, lubricating eye drops and in-office treatments provided by some optometrists for dry eye.
How are Autologous Serum Eye Drops Made?
Autologous serum eye drops are created by drawing a very small amount of your blood into a sterile tube and allowing the blood to clot for at least 10 hours.
The blood is then spun for 15 minutes so the serum is separated. The blood serum is collected, combined with sterile saline and divided into several small dropper bottles. The serum to saline ratio varies according to your doctor’s assessment of the severity of your dry eye. The serum is not red; it is clear, like other eye drops.
This process takes up to three hours. You usually receive several months’ supply of drops, depending on your dosing frequency.
The prepared eye drops are placed in the freezer to maintain optimal freshness and remove the risk of harmful microorganisms growing for up to 6 months.
The serum drops create a lubricating fluid rich in certain nutrients and growth factors that may be missing in very dry eyes.
What Do Autologous Serum Eye Drops Cost?
ASED are not FDA approved because they are a blood product and not a pharmaceutical; most health insurance policies do not cover the treatment. Medications that have attained FDA approval receive government and health insurance funding to lower their cost to patients. For this reason, ASED are priced higher than traditional eye drops, but are considered life-changing for many patients.
How Long Does it Take to Notice Improvement?
Most patients experience a noticeable reduction of their dry eye symptoms within 2 weeks of starting ASED therapy.
If you suffer from dry eye syndrome, and have been frustrated trying to find relief for dry eye, we recommend you consider ASED. Contact The Dry Eye Center at Pacific Rims Optometry to learn more about ASED and how they can change the way you see.Our practice serves patients from San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Mateo, California and surrounding communities.