Amniotic Membranes for Dry Eye and Corneal Scarring

Amniotic membrane disks are a revolutionary new treatment for severe cases of dry eye and corneal scarring.

Amniotic Membranes for Dry Eye and Corneal Scarring in Olympia

American Family Vision Clinic

Sometimes, the typical treatments for dry eye aren’t effective enough for severe cases. Amniotic membrane disks are a new, FDA approved treatment which is effective at treating difficult to treat or severe cases of dry eye. 

What are Amniotic Membrane Disks?

Amniotic membrane disks are specially made lenses with, in the center, amniotic membranes ethically obtained from stem cell tissues. These provide both a nourishing and protective barrier for better corneal health, and rejuvenating stem cell contributions that can help heal and protect the cornea in the future. It has also been shown to stimulate regeneration of damaged nerve terminals, which in some patients is the cause of their neuropathic corneal pain.

What are Amniotic Membrane Disks?
How Do Amniotic Membranes Work?

How Do Amniotic Membranes Work?

Amniotic membranes are made of tissue rich in stem cells, and they function as a short-term corneal graft. Effectively, it both protects the vulnerable tissues of the eye while also stimulating its repair through the introduction of beneficial biomolecules directly linked to corneal regeneration.

Amniotic membrane disks are applied in office by a doctor, in a quick and simple procedure. The membrane, secured in a round, flexible ring, is carefully inserted beneath both the upper and lower eyelids so the membrane completely covers the front surface of the eye. The process is quick, only taking a few minutes, and with the aid of a numbing drop, involves minimal discomfort.

Following their insertion, the eyelids are generally kept shut, either with surgical tape or gauze, to protect the amniotic membrane. Over the next several days, the membrane is absorbed into the corneal tissue, and the regenerative stem cells it contained start to repair the damaged ocular surface.

How Do Amniotic Membranes Work?

Once the membrane is completely absorbed or dissolved (within 7-10 days), the plastic ring is removed from where it was placed beneath the eyelids

During this process, the doctor may check the membrane several times to make sure it is in the proper spot, and evaluate the overall cornea health on a regular basis over the weeks or months following the application. The therapeutic effects of this treatment lasts for an extended period of time, providing sustainable treatment for damaged ocular surfaces.

What Conditions Do Amniotic Membranes Treat?

In addition to preventing additional damage to the cornea, amniotic membranes help treat several eye conditions, including:

  • Dry eye
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Corneal erosion
  • Damage from contact lens overwear
  • Thermal or chemical burns to the eyes
  • Eye infections
  • Epithelial corneal defects
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Keratitis
  • Neurotrophic keratopathy
  • Sjogren's Disease 
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
What are Amniotic Membrane Disks?
How Do Amniotic Membranes Work?

Amniotic Membrane Disks Compared to Other Treatment Methods for Dry Eye

 

More common treatments for dry eye, such as eye drops, are less effective in severe cases, and are not able to treat the surface of the eye. Amniotic membrane disks, with their regenerative properties, are capable of healing a damaged cornea in addition to treating dry eye, decreasing discomfort, and improving vision.

One study, the Dry Eye Amniotic Membrane (DREAM) study, found this treatment to be extremely effective on patients for whom other treatment options had not been able to help, within less than a week of starting it. 

Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Summary

Amniotic membrane treatment is a new, effective method for treating severe cases of dry eye where there is damage to the surface of the eye thanks to its regenerative properties. If you suffer from dry eye and would like more information on amniotic membrane treatment, contact us at American Family Vision Clinic today to schedule a consultation.

 

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