Trying amniotic membrane for my chronic dry eyes
Last month, I wrote about being diagnosed with chronic dry eyes. I had not realized my eyes were dry or that dry patches had formed on my cornea.
The doctor prescribed a steroid drop and lubricant to see if that would help my eyes. He also suggested using a special warm mask to help produce lipids (the oily substance that moistens the eye). While my eyesight returned to normal over the next week, a close look with the instruments still showed dry patches.
For the next two weeks, I used Xiiadra, another prescription drop to help those with chronic dry eye. It is expensive since my health insurance doesn’t cover it, but I figured it would be worth it. Well due to a misunderstanding, I discontinued the steroid drops and only used Xiidra.
At my next follow up, the doctor saw just a marginal improvement. When he found out I was using just Xiidra, he decided I should do 2 weeks with both prescriptions drops. But after 2 weeks, there wasn’t enough improvement.
This when the doctor suggested we try applying amniotic membrane to my eyes. Amniotic membranes have been used in the healing of burn victims. It promotes wound healing and prevents scar tissue formation. The doctor said it also helped 88% of those with chronic dry eyes.
So, I agreed to try it. They placed a dehydrated membrane on the lower part of each of my eyes and held it in place with my contacts. At first, I could see a fog where the membrane touched my iris but after a few hours that went away. I had the membranes in my eyes for four days, constantly wearing my contacts even when I slept. (That is hard to do when are programmed to take them out every night.)
Last Tuesday, I went back to the doctor to see if there was any improvement. And there was! One eye was 95% better and the other one about 90% better. I had prepared myself that we might have to do the amniotic membrane again as I had read online that it sometimes takes multiple applications for the cornea to be fully healed.
To keep the dry eyes from getting out of hand again I am still on the Xiidra and using Oasis Tears Plus (an over-the-counter lubricant). I go back in the eight weeks to see how my eyes are doing. Here’s hoping I have the dryness under control by then.