Conventional treatment of dry eye mainly consists of the use of preservative-free artificial eye drops and punctal occlusion. None of the commercially available artificial tear preparations include essential tear components such as epidermal growth factor, hepatocyte growth factor, fibronectin, neurotrophic growth factor, and vitamin A-all of which have been shown to play important roles in the maintenance of a healthy ocular surface epithelial milieu. We reported previously that autologous serum (AS) eye drops contain these essential factors and that AS eye drops are beneficial in the treatment of ocular surface diseases such as persistent epithelial defects, superior limbic keratoconjunctivitis, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, and neurotrophic keratopathy. However, there is some controversy regarding the efficacy of AS treatment. We demonstrated that this modality is more effective than artificial tears in a randomized control study. In in vivo and in vitro experiments, AS eye drops showed marked suppression of apoptosis in the conjunctival and corneal epithelium. Albumin, the major protein in serum, improved ocular surface damage in vivo and rescued apoptosis after serum deprivation in vitro. The biological background of AS eye drops and previous clinical studies of these medications for the treatment of dry eye are discussed.
From the *Department of Ophthalmology, Social Insurance Chukyo Hospital, Nagoya, Japan; †Department of Ophthalmology, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan; and ‡Department of Ophthalmology, Tsurumi University School of Dental Medicine, Yokohama, Japan.
Commercial interest disclosure: None.
Reprints: Takashi Kojima, MD, Department of Ophthalmology, Social Insurance Chukyo Hospital, 1-1-10 Sanjo, Minami-ku, Nagoya 457-8510, Japan (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).