Purpose: To evaluate the therapeutic effect of allogeneic serum eye drops for the treatment of dry eye in patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) following bone marrow transplantation.
Methods: Sixteen patients with cGVHD following allogeneic hematological stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT) and diagnosed with dry eye syndrome refractory to conventional treatment were prospectively enrolled in this study. Allogeneic serum eye drops were obtained from healthy related donors after serologic testing. Symptom scores, tear breakup time (tBUT), the Schirmer test without anesthesia (Schirmer I test), tear osmolarity, corneal staining score, impression cytology grade, and goblet cell densities were evaluated before and 4 weeks after administration of allogeneic serum eye drops.
Results: Enrolled patients included 6 females and 10 males between 20 and 61 years of age (mean age, 37.2±11.6 years). After 4 weeks of treatment, the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) symptom scores decreased significantly (32.5-8.9). Tear osmolarity showed a significant decrease from 311.1 to 285.1 milliosmol. The corneal staining scores significantly decreased from 2.5 to 1.8. Impression cytology grade and goblet cell density improved from 3.4 to 2.4 and from 90.6 to 122.6 cell/mm(2), respectively. tBUT also significantly improved from 2.9 to 4.4 s, and the Schirmer I test results showed improvement, but lacked statistical significance (1.7-2.4 mm). No significant side effects were detected as a result of the allogeneic serum treatment during the follow-up period.
Conclusions: Allogeneic serum can be used for the treatment of severe dry eye in patients with cGVHD when autologous serum is unavailable. Care should be taken to avoid the risk of blood-borne diseases.