Amniotic Membrane in San Diego, CA
If you’re suffering from dry eye syndrome and you’ve been unable to find an effective treatment solution, you may want to consider the amniotic membrane treatment at American Eye Associates and California Retina Associates. We offer this advanced solution to the residents of San Diego, Chula Vista and the surrounding communities of Imperial County, California.
What is Amniotic Membrane?
Amniotic membrane treatment is an advanced technique for healing dry eye syndrome. The treatment is named for the amniotic membrane, which is the inner layer of the fetal membrane. This material has anti-inflammatory, anti-fibrotic, anti-angiogenic, and anti-microbial properties. We receive this material from Caesarian section donors. When placed on the damaged cornea, the amniotic membrane creates a fetal environment that promotes corneal healing and helps return the cornea surface to a normal state. The amniotic membrane treatment is used for severe cases of dry eye that don’t respond to other treatment options.
Who is a good candidate for Amniotic Membrane treatment for Dry Eye?
Good candidates for amniotic membrane treatment for dry eye should have ocular irritation, burning, itching, pain, sensation of a foreign body in the eye, and decreased vision quality and blurring. There should be inflammation in the corneal epithelium and an irregular corneal surface. This is not a treatment option for patients with mild dry eye, as the treatment is typically reserved for patients who do not achieve their desired results with other treatment methods. Amniotic membrane placement is not used for patients who do not have corneal changes.
How is Amniotic Membrane treatment done?
At American Eye Associates and California Retina Associates, we use ProKera, a sutureless form of amniotic membrane that was approved for use by the FDA in 2003. ProKera features a 16-mm thermoplastic ring that, when placed beneath the upper and lower eyelids, holds the amniotic membrane in place on the affected area of the cornea. To do so, we first apply topical anesthesia to the eye. We then hold the upper eyelid and ask the patient to look down. The ProKera is inserted into the upper white of the eye under the upper eyelid, similar to insertion of a contact lens. We then pull down the lower eyelid and slide the bottom edge of the ProKera under the lower eyelid. We check placement with a slit lamp and the procedure is finished. In most patients, the amniotic membrane and the thermoplastic ring are removed after five days.
What are the benefits of Amniotic Membrane treatment for Dry Eye?
ProKera offers three amniotic membrane treatment options, Regular, Slim, and Plus. Each of these provide unique benefits based on the patient’s treatment needs. Slim is thinner and is more comfortable. This can be a better option for younger patients whose eyelids are tighter than older patients. Adults benefit from ProKera and ProKera Plus because they have laxity in their eyelids. The most significant benefit of amniotic membrane treatment is that the cornea heals. This happens very quickly in most patients, often within just a couple days. This clears discomfort, heals the cornea surface, and returns 20/20 vision.
What are the risks with Amniotic Membrane treatment for Dry Eye?
The FDA has cleared the use of ProKera and the tissue bank providing the amniotic membrane is also under FDA control. The tissue has passed rigorous quality control tests. This is a safe and effective treatment using natural tissue to heal the cornea.
At American Eye Associates, we offer the amniotic membrane treatment to eligible patients living in Chula Vista, San Diego and the surrounding areas of Imperial County, California. If you’d like to learn more about this treatment or schedule your initial consultation, contact us today.