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Amniotic Membranes for Dry Eye and Corneal Scarring

Amniotic membrane disks are a revolutionary new treatment for severe cases of dry eye and corneal scarring.

Amniotic Membranes for Dry Eye and Corneal Scarring in Hixson

Amplify Eyecare Chattanooga

Sometimes, the typical treatments for dry eye aren’t effective enough for severe cases. Amniotic membrane disks are a new FDA approved treatment which is effective at treating difficult to treat or severe cases of dry eye. 

What are Amniotic Membrane Disks?

Amniotic membrane disks are specially made lenses with, in the center, amniotic membranes ethically obtained from stem cell tissues. These provide both a nourishing and protective barrier for better corneal health, and rejuvenating stem cell contributions that can help heal and protect the cornea in the future. It has also been shown to stimulate regeneration of damaged nerve terminals, which in some patients is the cause of their neuropathic corneal pain.

What are Amniotic Membrane Disks?
How Do Amniotic Membranes Work?

How Do Amniotic Membranes Work?

Amniotic membranes are made of tissue rich in stem cells, and they function as a short-term corneal graft. Effectively, it both protects the vulnerable tissues of the eye while also stimulating its repair through the introduction of beneficial biomolecules directly linked to corneal regeneration.

Amniotic membrane disks are applied in office by a doctor, in a quick and simple procedure. The membrane, secured in a round, flexible ring, is carefully inserted beneath both the upper and lower eyelids so the membrane completely covers the front surface of the eye. The process is quick, only taking a few minutes, and with the aid of a numbing drop, involves minimal discomfort.

Following their insertion, the eyelids are generally kept shut, either with surgical tape or gauze, to protect the amniotic membrane. Over the next several days, the membrane is absorbed into the corneal tissue, and the regenerative stem cells it contained start to repair the damaged ocular surface.

How Do Amniotic Membranes Work?

Once the membrane is completely absorbed or dissolved (within 7-10 days), the plastic ring is removed from where it was placed beneath the eyelids

During this process, the doctor may check the membrane several times to make sure it is in the proper spot, and evaluate the overall cornea health on a regular basis over the weeks or months following the application. The therapeutic effects of this treatment lasts for an extended period of time, providing sustainable treatment for damaged ocular surfaces.

What Conditions Do Amniotic Membranes Treat?

In addition to preventing additional damage to the cornea, amniotic membranes help treat several eye conditions, including:

  • Dry eye
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Corneal erosion
  • Damage from contact lens overwear
  • Thermal or chemical burns to the eyes
  • Eye infections
  • Epithelial corneal defects
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Keratitis
  • Neurotrophic keratopathy
  • Sjogren's Disease 
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
What are Amniotic Membrane Disks?
How Do Amniotic Membranes Work?

Amniotic Membrane Disks Compared to Other Treatment Methods for Dry Eye

 

More common treatments for dry eye, such as eye drops, are less effective in severe cases, and are not able to treat the surface of the eye. Amniotic membrane disks, with their regenerative properties, are capable of healing a damaged cornea in addition to treating dry eye, decreasing discomfort, and improving vision.

One study, the Dry Eye Amniotic Membrane (DREAM) study, found this treatment to be extremely effective on patients for whom other treatment options had not been able to help, within less than a week of starting it. 

Common Questions

The cost of amniotic membranes is high, however in many cases the cost is covered by your medical insurance. In addition the therapeutic effects after treatment may not be permanent and may be dependent on the type of condition being treated. Amniotic membranes are not simple to produce as they come from the innermost layer of fetal membranes—composed of the epithelium, basement membrane and stroma—collected from full-term placental tissue. This tissue is extremely difficult to produce but has been shown to be extremely effective for those suffering from corneal conditions by promoting cellular growth and reducing inflammation. Your medical insurance including medicare generally covers the cost of amniotic membranes when deemed medically necessary, however it is always best to discuss your specific case with our eye doctor to determine if your insurance will cover the procedure.
The goal of amniotic membranes is to enable our eyes to heal naturally after a condition that has caused trauma, inflammation, or scarring on the cornea. In some cases the treatment may not be permanent. During a large study done on the impact of amniotic membranes the following conditions had a 100% success rate: corneal ulcers neurotrophic keratitis; post-keratoplasty, glaucoma or cataract; bullous keratopathy; corneal degeneration; dystrophy; mechanical trauma; reconstruction of the anophthalmic cavity; eyelid reconstruction; and dysfunctional tear syndrome. Amniotic membrane treatment had varying success when analyzed after a 1 year period for the following conditions: mucous membrane pemphigoid, Stevens-Johnson or Lyell’s syndrome, reconstruction of the conjunctiva and fornix, neoplasia of the ocular surface, primary and secondary limbal stem cell deficiency, physical trauma, chemical trauma, pterygium, and recurrent epithelial erosions. As with any advanced treatment it is always recommended to speak with our eye doctors about your particular condition before considering the treatment.
Amniotic Membranes for Dry Eye and Corneal Scarring
Dr. McBryar cartoon

Summary

Amniotic membrane treatment is a new, effective method for treating severe cases of dry eye where there is damage to the surface of the eye thanks to its regenerative properties.  If you have additional questions about amniotic membranes, or wish to schedule an appointment with Dr. McBryar you can contact Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga at (423) 710 3965. Patients with dry eyes visit our clinic from all over Tennessee, and we are proud to be a leading provider of dry eye care for patients from Hixson, Chattanooga, Cleveland, and Middle Valley.

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Testimonials


Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.


Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.


Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!


Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!


Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!


Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!


Alice M.
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