MYTH No. 1: Autologous Serum is a treatment of last option mostly used by cornea specialists
FACT: Although Autologous serum eye drops (ASEDs) are not an entry-level treatment for dry eye, they are certainly not one of the most aggressive treatment choices readily available either, to be used as a last resort. In the dry eye setting, ASEDs are commonly prescribed for really symptomatic patients who do not get enough relief from artificial eye lubricants and for those with concerning degrees of keratitis (regardless of symptoms).
Many doctors utilize ASEDs extremely early in the treatment course. In my point of view, every comprehensive ophthalmologist should consider ASEDs as part of their armamentarium, for 3 reasons. Initially, the drops, which are derived from a patient’s very own serum, are extremely safe for the patient, with really very few adverse events reported in medical literature.
For the doctor, the process of recommending ASEDs today is no more challenging than creating any kind of other prescription (see myth No. 2). As well as finally, ASEDs provide a unique system of action that complements other treatments.
MYTH No. 2: Getting ASEDs right into patients’ hands is a complex procedure
FACT: This used to be true, however today, we can prescribe ASEDs as we would any type of other treatment, thanks to a turnkey operation offered. We simply have to compose a prescription, which the technician enters into a web order form with the patient identification details, and the offering company prepares the rest.
The patient can choose to have blood drawn at a designated laboratory centre, in a medical professional’s workplace, or by a mobile phlebotomist at home. The blood is centrifuged to separate the solid platelets as well as red and white blood cells from the liquid serum. The serum is sent out to a central laboratory, where it is thinned down, bottled, and packaged for distribution.
MYTH No. 3: Patients will certainly not agree to bear the price or inconvenience of ASEDs
FACT: ASEDs require to be frozen or refrigerated and usually are not covered by insurance, so there are some differences in between these and other common topical medications.
Nonetheless, patients who are prescribed ASEDs are often in considerable distress as well as are really ready to follow the basic storage instructions for the trade-off of getting rid of their pain and also improving their vision. They keep 1 container per week in the refrigerator, with the rest iced up until needed. Patients can expect to see a betterment in their symptoms within 7 to 10 days.
When I talk to my patients with dry eye on ASEDs, there are really few circumstances when patients have actually stated, “You see, this actually isn’t helping me and I wish to stop it.” We get that feedback regularly from patients on the topical anti-inflammatory agents we recommend for dry eye, as a result of lack of efficacy, pain, trouble, or price.
MYTH No. 4: It’s not safe to make use of blood products
FACT: In the past, this was definitely real, because preparing ASEDs can expose the doctor, pharmacist, and/or service technicians to bloodborne contagious agents.
Today, with ASEDs that we make use of or various other local phlebotomy/eye bank sources that eye doctors may have found, blood products are dealt with just by those trained to work with blood and serums as well as are prepared under sterilized conditions with stringent quality assurance.
Under these conditions, ASEDs are arguably much safer for patients than lots of other medications we recommend since an autologous drop would certainly not be expected to have any corneal toxicity.
MYTH No. 5: There is no evidence that ASEDs work
FACT: ASEDs have been shown in medical literature to have very good results in many types of patients, including those with dry eye, autoimmune disease, slow or nonhealing epithelial defects, as well as chemical injury.
Randomized, regulated researches would be advantageous, yet clinicians can feel really comfortable that ASEDs have a lengthy history of safe and reliable use.
Additionally, treatment algorithms from many sources all incorporate ASEDs as a recommended treatment for moderate to severe dry eye.