Background: The treatment of persistent epithelial defects (PED) with autologous serum eye drops is often combined with conventional medication such as artificial tears and topical antibiotics, but until now no report exists on the use of a bandage contact lens (BCL) in combination with autologous serum eye drops in the treatment of PEDs. We report six eyes (five patients) which were all treated with autologous serum eye drops in combination with an FDA group IV hydrogel contact lens.
Methods: Five patients aged 36-88 years, were suffering from six PEDs for 73.5+/-46.9 days due to rheumatoid sterile corneal ulcer (n=1), neurotrophic keratopathy (n=3) or partial limbal stem cell deficiency (n=1). All patients had been unsuccessfully treated with conventional therapy before. Three of them had already had an amniotic membrane transplantation and two had undergone a keratoplasty; however, the epithelial defect persisted or recurred. In all cases, an FDA group IV hydrogel contact lens (Biomedics 55, ocufilcon D, 55% water content) was fitted and serum eye drops applied 8 times a day.
Results: The PED healed in five of six eyes after a treatment period of 14.2+/-8.9 days. In one eye the PED became smaller, but it took 90 days until the lesion healed completely. In three eyes (two patients) white deposits appeared on the surface of the BCL during the treatment after 12.3+/-5.1 days. Because no signs of inflammation were observed and since the epithelial defect improved, a new identical lens was applied and the medication continued unaltered. The surface of contaminated and non-contaminated BCLs were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and SDS gel-electrophoresis. The scanning electron microscopic examination presented a coating of amorphous material with a wrinkled appearance and many corpuscular deposits. There was no indication of bacterial colonisation. The SDS gel-electrophoresis showed a small band at 65 kDa, probably albumin.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that the combination of a therapeutic contact lens and serum eye drops can be successfully used in the treatment of persistent epithelial defects. Deposition of albumin may occur on the surface of the contact lenses, which, in the small group presented here, caused no unwanted effects.