Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to describe the most recent and relevant clinical and experimental data about the use of amniotic membrane in ophthalmology.
Recent findings: The amniotic membrane is a biologic tissue that has been used as a graft for corneal and conjunctival reconstruction in a variety of ocular surface diseases. It is avascular and possesses anti-angiogenetic, anti-scarring and antiinflammatory properties. It is not a substitute but rather a substrate upon which cells can migrate and regenerate, forming new and healthy tissue. The amniotic membrane can also be used as a biologic patch, as a bandage, to treat acute inflammatory disorders. With the development of cell therapy, amniotic membrane can be also used as a carrier of limbal stem cells or their progeny, cultivated in vitro.
Summary: Amniotic membrane use in ophthalmic surgery has been shown to provide an alternative for corneal and conjunctival reconstruction in many clinically challenging situations; however, there is still a lack of scientific evidence based on randomized comparative studies to prove that its use is better than other alternative therapies for ocular surface reconstruction.