Efficacy of autologous serum tears for treatment of neuropathic corneal pain

Date Published:

2019 Jan 24

Abstract:

OBJECTIVE: Corneal nerve damage may result in neuropathic corneal pain (NCP). Autologous serum tears (AST) have been shown to results in nerve regeneration and may help alleviate corneal pain. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of AST in the treatment of NCP. METHODS: This was a retrospective case-control study. Sixteen patients suffering from severe NCP and no current ocular surface disease were compared to 12 controls. In vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) (HRT3/RCM; Heidelberg, Germany) of the central corneas was performed bilaterally. Change in pain severity (scale of 0-10), corneal nerve density, tortuosity, reflectivity and presence of beading and microneuromas before and after treatment were recorded. RESULTS: All patients had severe pain of 9.1 ± 0.2 (range 8-10). Before treatment, subbasal nerves were significantly decreased compared to controls, including total nerve length (10,935.5 ± 1264.3 vs. 24,714.4 ± 1056.2 μm/mm; p < 0.0001) and total number of nerves (10.5 ± 1.4 vs. 28.6 ± 2.0; p < 0.0001), respectively. Morphologically, significantly increased reflectivity (2.9 ± 0.2 vs. 1.2 ± 0.1; p = 0.00008) and tortuosity (2.4 ± 0.2 vs. 1.7 ± 0.1; p = 0.001), both graded on a scale of 0-4, were noted. After 3.8 ± 0.5 months (range 1-8 months) of AST treatment, pain severity decreased to 3.1 ± 0.3 (range 0-4), (p < 0.0001). Further, IVCM demonstrated a significant improvement (p < 0.005) in total nerve length (17,351.3 ± 1395.6 μm/mm) and number (15.1 ± 1.6) as well as significant decrease in reflectivity (2.4 ± 0.2; p = 0.001) and tortuosity (2.2 ± 0.2; p = 0.001). CONCLUSION: IVCM demonstrates underlying alterations of the subbasal corneal nerve plexus in patients suffering from debilitating NCP. AST-induced nerve regeneration is seen following treatment with AST, which correlates with improvement in patient symptoms of NCP.

Last updated on 01/31/2019