April 02, 2018
Submitted by Eye Surgical Associates
Tears are nature's lotion for the eyes. Not only do tears soothe, but eyes see better for being washed by them. Not having enough tears is a common condition that affects many people. An estimated 4.88 million Americans age 50 and older have dry eyes. Of these, over 65 percent are women and 35 percent are men. Many people have underlying medical conditions that worsen dry eyes, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disease. Certain medications can also diminish tear production. While there are many effective artificial tear products on the market, sometimes the artificial tears just aren’t enough.
Serum tears may provide a solution. Also known as Autologous tears, these eye drops are made from the patient’s own blood. Once blood is drawn, red blood cells and clotting factors are removed, leaving behind blood serum. This serum is diluted with a sterile preservative-free solution to create tears that are unique to each person. Blood and tears have an almost identical salinity and pH factor, so they don’t sting when put in the eyes. Tears made from blood are believed to have healing and nurturing properties that promote healthy cell growth.
“I have prescribed serum tears for several of my patients that have corneal issues and other ocular surface conditions because these tears are so similar to the patient’s own natural tears,” said Dr. Catharine Crockett of Eye Surgical Associates. It is believed that serum tears are beneficial because they contain diluted concentrations of vitamin and growth factors that are important for corneal epithelial health. “As beneficial as these tears are for certain patients, serum tears aren’t for everyone,” she added. The downside of the drops includes the fact that not all patients are eligible for blood donation, the drops need to be refrigerated, the cost is not usually covered by insurance, and, until recently, serum tears were not available in McLean County.
Recently, the Bloomington office of the national Eversight organization started offering this service through its partnership with Vital Tears. “I am very pleased that this service is now being offered locally,” stated Crockett. “Our patients have had to travel to Peoria to get these tears previously and having this service locally is much more convenient and all the more reason for people to support Eversight.”
“We are very pleased to be able to offer this service locally through Vital Tears, which provides a very smooth, convenient process for doctors to order and patients to receive the tears directly,” said Kara Kelly, Manager of Professional Relations at Eversight.
If you would like more information about vision health or to schedule a comprehensive eye exam, contact ESA Eye Surgical Associates at 309-662-7700. Ophthalmologists Daniel Brownstone, Catharine Crockett, Scott Pinter, and Optometrist Kathleen Vize will be happy to assist you. ESA is located at 1505 Eastland Drive Suite 2200 Bloomington.
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