Amniotic Membranes to Treat Corneal Trauma and Disease

Most people recognize the term amniotic fluid.  Amniotic fluid is the fluid surrounding a fetus while in the womb during pregnancy.   For over a hundred years, scientists have been aware of the healing properties existent within this fluid; however, it is only within the past few years that these healing properties have been made available to help treat ocular conditions in the form of sutureless amniotic membranes.

Amniotic membranes are derived from the donated placentas of live cesarean births.  These membranes have numerous anti-inflammatory properties and can facilitate new growth making them ideal for helping to heal and reduce scarring in damaged corneas.  The cornea is the outermost transparent layer of the eye covering the colored part of the eye, or the iris.  The cornea both helps to bend, or refract light, helping us to focus and serves as a window through which we view the world.  Since we view everything through the cornea, it is essential that this tissue remains clear and free of blood vessels or scarring to maintain good, sharp vision.

Amniotic membranes are applied like a bandage to the cornea to assist and speed up the healing process and help with pain.  Amniotic membranes can either be applied surgically using sutures or applied in office and draped over the cornea, similar to a contact lens.

Some of the current eye conditions that amniotic membranes can be used to treat include:

  • Chemical burns
  • Infectious corneal ulcers
  • Noninfectious corneal ulcers, occurring after loss of corneal sensation, in conditions like Herpes Simplex and Herpes Zoster (shingles)
  • Filamentary keratitis occurring in severe dry eye
  • Recurrent corneal erosions
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Corneal injuries
  • Corneal dystrophies and degenerations

There are two types of amniotic membranes that we can use in our office:

  1.  Dry amniotic membrane – This membrane looks like a small wafer of dry tissue.  We apply this membrane directly to the cornea and use a bandage contact lens over the membrane to help keep it in place.  Ambiodisk is the name of the brand that we use in our practice.  For more information on Ambiodisk, view their website at http://www.iopinc.com/store/ambiodisk/.IMG_6429
  2. Wet amniotic membrane (cryopreserved) – The wet membrane is called Prokera and looks like a thin skin applied to a small ring, almost like a large soft contact lens.  This membrane is also applied directly to the eye.  Its larger size allows it to rest between the upper and lower eyelid; thus holding it in place without the need for a bandage contact lens.  These lenses are generally kept in place for 1-2 weeks while the cornea heals.   For more information on Prokera, view their website at http://www.biotissue.com/products/prokera.aspx.

Our optometrists at Okaloosa Eye Care have received training on the application and use of these membranes.  We strive to keep up to date with the latest technological advances to help provide the best eye care for our patients.  If you or a family member is suffering from a corneal condition that you think could benefit from the use of these membranes, schedule an eye exam with our office today at (850) 683-0221.

drs amniotic membrane

 

Dr. Mayes, Dr. Batson, and Dr. Evans taking place in one of our amniotic membrane training sessions.

 

We are your Crestview Optometrist & Eye Doctor. We are here for your Eye Exams, Eye Emergencies & Eye Injuries. Call us at (850) 683-0221 for all of your eye care needs.