PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Injections For Dry Eyes
The components of blood include red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Platelets, because of their abundance in growth factors, are recruited to the site of any injury in the body to stimulate tissue repair and rejuvenation. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a simple blood draw that is processed to remove the red and white blood cells and preserve the platelets in high concentration in the plasma. It is a proven therapy in a variety of specialties to enhance healing, including orthopedics, dermatology, and surgery. In dry eye, PRP helps to improve new cell growth, and the healing of corneal and conjunctival cells.
Only 11cc of blood is needed to prepare PRP for injection, which is obtained by a routine blood draw. For a smooth blood draw, hydrate with 8 glasses of water the day prior, and 2 glasses of water 30 minutes prior, and avoid alcohol for 24 hours prior to the blood draw. The blood sample is processed to cultivate the PRP product and combined with preservative-free artificial tears in sterile eye dropper bottles. There are many PRP technologies on the market with varying degrees of purity and potency. At Essence Laser, we use the top PRP technology to produce the highest purity and concentration of platelets to create a superior product in our PRP eyedrops.
PRP is injected into the tissue around the meibomian and lacrimal glands using a cannula, which is a non-sharp instrument, to minimize tissue trauma. The PRP enhances the function of these glands, and in some cases, has been shown to even promote the development of new meibomian glands where there has been meibomian gland loss.
The purpose of the meibomian glands is to release the oily layer of the tear film to prevent evaporation, a function vital to maintaining an adequate tear film, especially in dry environments. The injection of PRP into the area of the lacrimal gland may also promote the aqueous or watery portion of the tear film as well, so PRP can help with Dry Eye Symptoms from both evaporative and decreased aqueous sources.
PRP injections are performed by Melinda C ORourke, MD, board certified Ophthalmologist and surgeon, with over 25 years of experience in performing surgical procedures in and around the eye, as well as years of experience with PRP.
After preparation of the PRP, the peri-orbital area is prepped with a surgical grade cleanser, and a topical anesthetic is applied. The PRP solution is injected along the lower and upper lid margin to the meibomian gland region and to the superficial upper outer orbital region to reach the area of the lacrimal gland, using a non-sharp cannula, for minimal discomfort or trauma to the tissue. The procedure takes approximately 10-15 minutes, including prep time. It is recommended that the patient have 3 injection sessions about 1 month apart, and then maintenance treatments as needed, at least one every 6-12 months, depending on the severity of the patient’s condition.
Immediately after the procedure the eyelids will appear swollen due to the fluid of the PRP solution. This will dissipate rapidly as the PRP solution is absorbed into the tissue, but the patient may need to stay in the office until it dissipates enough to drive, or have a driver take them home. The area can be massaged to increase absorption and by the following morning the eyelids should have minimal excess fluid. Do not apply make up or skin products to the area immediately after the procedure but the skin can be cleansed using the patients normal skin routine.
Clin Ophthalmol Autologous Platelet‐Rich Plasma Drops for Evaporative Dry Eye Disease from Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: A Pilot Study