Autologous Serum Eye Drops
Tears are essential to help you see clearly and maintain the health of your eyes. Unfortunately, patients with moderate to severe dry eye may not produce enough tears to remain comfortable, and supplementing natural tear production with artificial tears or lubricants is often inadequate. Many people have underlying medical issues which cause or worsen dry eye, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disease. Others take medications which diminish tear production. At Key Pharmacy we can work with your doctor to help find relief for patients with dry eye and to prevent long term damage to the ocular surface resulting from a lack of tear production.
What are Autologous Serum Eye Drops
Autologous serum eye drops are eye drops made from your own blood. Red blood cells and clotting factors are removed, leaving behind blood serum. This is diluted with a sterile, preservative free solution to produce a tear substitute that is unique to the patient, and contains many important growth factors and nutrients normally found in healthy tears. Since blood and tear shave an almost identical salinity and pH, there is no issue of burning or stinging upon instillation. Because they are non-preserved, the drops are stored in the freezer until you need them.
How are they made?
Botha laboratory and compounding pharmacy are involved in the process. At the lab they will draw your blood and spin it to separate out the serum. Then you transport it to our pharmacy with your prescription and we will produce a finished product.
How Much Do They Cost?
The cost for autologous serum eye drops varies by the amount of blood drawn and the number of bottles produced from the sample. In general, the pharmacy charges $15 per 5 milliliter bottle of drops, and the fee for the blood draw is about $50. A typical draw will delivery anywhere from 6 - 8 bottles, so figure on about $140 for the entire process. That should produce enough drops to last 4 - 6 months.
When Will I Know if They're Working?
Everyone is different, but for those patients who experience relief using autologous serum eye drops it is usually seen within the first few weeks.