Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Dry Eye Rejuvenation therapy

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye Syndrome is one of the oldest diagnosis in ophthalmology and yet one of the only disorders that has absolutely no cure. For years Ophthalmologists, Ophthalmology specialists, and Ophthalmic technicians have been having their patients resort to various eye drops and ointments both medicated and over the counter, with patients having little to no long term improvement. Dr. Kristin Tarbet, MD and I, as an Ophthalmology specialist, are working together on an innovative method to significantly reduce dry eye symptoms, not only for a few hours but for an extended period of time through a procedure known as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Dry Eye Rejuvenation Therapy. We are using the science and rejuvenation powers of PRP to restart and rejuvenate the ocular systems of the body that are solely responsible for the symptoms of dry eye. With the use of PRP we are able to help improve a patient’s blinking mechanism, tear production, and Meibomian gland function.

Step 1: Blinking

The correlation of proper blinking and dry eye syndrome tend to walk hand in hand. With each complete blink, the eye normally excretes a very important lubricant across the eye that is responsible for keeping the aqueous layer or “water” layer of the tear film from evaporating. When the lids do not perform and carry out full and proper blinks, not only are we not protecting our eye from outside debris and elements, but we are not supplying our tear film with a very important component.

Have you ever wondered why when you place an artificial tear in your eye the tears only work for 5-10 minutes? This is because a vital lipid layer that is secreted from proper blinks may not be secreted to help hold that water layer or eye drop on the surface of your eye. Through the use of PRP we are able to improve a person’s blinking mechanism to allow them to utilize this important secretion.

Step 2: Tear Production

In each and every one of us we have a gland known as the lacrimal gland. This gland is responsible for helping to supply our eyes with the tears that allow our eyes to feel “wet” and moisturized. Patients who state that their eyes never feel wet or always feel dry and look red most likely have an issue with tear production. Through the use of PRP we are able to stimulate and then rejuvenate that very important gland with the goal of improving tear secretions.

Step 3: Meibomian Glands

The main purpose of the Meibomian gland is to secrete the lipid or “fatty” layer of the tear film onto the eye to help hold in the water layer. They are located inside the upper and lower eye lids and only become active and excrete their lubrication through the performance of proper blinking. Just fixing the blinking mechanism does not help a patient suffering from chronic dry eye syndrome if the Meibomian glands are no longer working to their full potential.

We have been told that once these glands are nonfunctioning there is no way to bring them back. Without healthy glands present in the lids the important fatty layer of our tear film is not present, resulting in evaporative dry eye. With the help of PRP we can stimulate the Meibomian glands and, in some cases bring some of the damaged glands back to life. Glands that might be dormant and/or lost and are simply not producing the oils can be “jump started” through the use of PRP!

Summary

When we look at the big picture and are able to put all three steps together, we are better able to see and understand how exactly PRP is capable of helping us diminish the symptoms of dry eye. Simply put, if we can improve the blinking, stimulate the lacrimal gland to produce more tears, and rejuvenate our Meibomian glands we are able to drastically reduce the itching, damage, redness, tearing, and/or lack of tearing that is dry eye syndrome. This can all be through proper patient assessment and where possible, through the use of PRP.

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