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Plasma Rich in Growth Factors as a Therapeutic Agent for Persistent Corneal Epithelial Defects

López-Plandolit, Silvia MD; Morales, María-Celia DSci, PhD; Freire, Vanessa Pre-PhD; Etxebarría, Jaime MD; Durán, Juan A MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e3181a81820
Clinical Science

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of topically applied autologous plasma rich in growth factors (PRGF) as a treatment for persistent epithelial defects (PEDs) of the cornea.

Methods: A series of prospective noncomparative cases.

Participants: Twenty eyes from 18 patients with PED with various underlying etiopathologies: neurogenic, iatrogenic, associated with burning or secondary to severe dry eye. Patients were treated with a PRGF eyedrop solution. Serial photographs of the cornea were taken until epithelialization was complete. We had previously characterized the levels of a panel of growth factors (platelet-derived growth factor, epithelial growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, hepatocyte growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, and nerve growth factor) in the PRGF of 11 of these patients. The following variables were additionally recorded: (1) duration of PED before treatment, (2) previous treatments, (3) time for complete epithelialization, and (4) treatments required concomitantly with PRGF.

Results: Epithelial defects healed in 17 of 20 cases (85%), with a mean therapeutic time of 10.9 weeks (range 2-39 weeks). Mean progression time before treatment was 26.7 weeks (range 2-104 weeks). Growth factor concentrations were platelet-derived growth factor 12645.9 ± 1690.0 pg/mL, epithelial growth factor 468.9 ± 97.6 pg/mL, vascular endothelial growth factor 204.5 ± 119.4 pg/mL, hepatocyte growth factor 149.5 ± 173.5 pg/mL, fibroblast growth factor 82.6 ± 95.9 pg/mL, and nerve growth factor 37.7 ± 18.6 pg/mL.

Conclusion: PRGF, when applied as eyedrops, is a highly effective therapeutic agent for the treatment of a broad etiopathological spectrum of corneal PEDs.

From the *Instituto Clínico-Quirúrgico de Oftalmología, Bilbao, Vizcaya, Spain; †San Eloy Hospital, Baracaldo, Vizcaya, Spain; ‡Cruces Hospital, Baracaldo, Vizcaya, Spain; and §Basque Country University, Bilbao, Vizcaya, Spain.

Received for publication December 18, 2008; revision received March 11, 2009; accepted March 30, 2009.

Reprints: Silvia López-Plandolit, MD, Instituto Clínico-Quirúrgico de Oftalmología, Virgen de Begoña 34, E-48006 Bilbao, Vizcaya, Spain (e-mail:

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