Background: To evaluate the efficacy of autologous serum (AS) eye drops for the symptomatic relief of severe dry eye syndrome (DES), as compared to conventional preservative-free artificial tears (PFAT).
Methods: This prospective double-blind randomized crossover study used the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI), tear film break-up time (TBUT), Schirmer's Test, and OXFORD Scale at baseline and after each of two 1-month treatment periods to measure the effect of 20 % diluted AS eye drops vs. PFAT in 20 consecutive severe DES patients that were refractory to conventional treatment.
Results: The study included 20 (18 female and two male) severe DES patients (40 eyes). Significantly higher TBUT (P < 0.001, Wilcoxon signed-rank test) and a greater decrease in OSDI score (55.18 % decrease in the AS treatment group vs. 19.50 % decrease in the PFAT treatment group) (P < 0.001, Student's paired samples t-test) were observed in the AS treatment group after 1 month of treatment. There wasn't a significant difference in Schirmer's test and OXFORD conjunctival and corneal vital dying grading scores between the two treatment groups after 1 month of treatment (P > 0.05 [Mann-Whitney U test]).
Conclusions: AS eye drops were more effective than conventional eye drops for improving tear film stability and subjective comfort in patients with severe DES.