Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Amniotic Membrane Use in Sjogren's Treatment

Image by vierdrie

The term dry eye just doesn't do justice to the agony that keratoconjunctivitis sicca can inflict on those with advanced Sjogren's. Patients dealing with this very painful condition describe the sensation similar to having glass shards lining the inside of their eyelids. Ouch. 

It seems that there is hope on the horizon. 

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald interviews two women suffering Sjogren's related extreme eye dryness who were successfully treated by transplanting amniotic membranes onto the recipient's cornea:
The 78-year-old is one of only two Australians to undergo radical surgery in which membranes from human placentas are used to reline the eye, to provide moisture lost from severe damage or auto-immune diseases such as diabetes, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.............Studies have shown that amniotic membranes, taken from women having caesarean sections, promote the growth of epithelial cells on the surface of the cornea and contain properties that reduce pain, suppress fibrosis, and are antibacterial and wound-protecting............An ophthalmologist at the Sydney Eye Hospital, Dr John Males, said dry eyes from Sjogren's Syndrome were notoriously challenging to treat.
Dr. Males commented that the procedure was still experimental and not widely available. 

An earlier study conducted in Kyoto, Japan, completed in 2003, confirmed the usefulness of amniotic membrane in the treatment of corneal problems. 
CONCLUSIONS. The basement membrane of amniotic membrane resembles that of corneal epithelium but not conjunctiva. Amniotic membrane may be an excellent substrate for corneal epithelial cells.
Let's keep our eyes peeled (sorry) for new developments in this very promising research. 

No comments: