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Blood could be effective treatment for dry eye

Patients asked to apply a pricked and bleeding fingertip to their eye/s four times a day reported significant improvements in their symptoms

Colin Kerr

Posted: Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A small drop of a blood could relieve symptoms of severe dry eye, according to a study led by a team at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

The study showed that patients who were asked to apply a pricked and bleeding fingertip to their eye/s four times a day reported significant improvements in their symptoms.

Our tears contain enzymes and vitamins that help maintain and repair the cornea, the clear window at the front of the eye. Similar nutrients that encourage growth are also present in our blood and it’s believed that this is partly responsible for the improvements shown in the study. The study, published in Eye, is the first to explore the use of whole blood as a substitute for tears.

 

The study consisted of 16 patients with severe dry eye syndrome. Using a lancet, patients were taught how to safely draw a small drop of blood from their own finger and apply to the lower part of the affected eye. The procedure was carried out four times a day for eight weeks. Results show that damage to the eye surface in participants was halved and that this combined with a significant improvement in vision. Symptoms worsened when the treatment was stopped and improved again when it was re-started.

 

The study is being supported by the National Institute of Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital. Further studies will take place at Moorfields Eye Centre at Bedford, Moorfields at City Road and Moorfields Eye Centre at St George’s.