Combinatorial therapy with immunosuppressive, immunomodulatory and tear substitute eyedrops ("Triple Play") in Recalcitrant Immunological Ocular Surface Diseases

Ocul Surf. 2022 Jan:23:1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jtos.2021.11.002. Epub 2021 Nov 10.


Purpose: The current paradigm for therapy of recalcitrant ocular surface diseases (OSD) consists of a sequential, step-up treatment approach. A combinatorial topical therapy (anti-inflammatory/immunosuppressive [steroid] with immunomodulatory [pooled human immune globulin] and tear substitute [serum]) that simultaneously targets several immunological pathways may be more efficacious. This report evaluates if the combinatorial therapy resulted in clinical benefit in patients with recalcitrant OSD.

Methods: We performed a retrospective case study of patients receiving topical, preservative-free, compounded formulations of steroids, pooled human immune globulin, and serum tears. Outcome measures included visual acuity, ocular surface disease index (OSDI), ocular discomfort score, subjective global assessment (SGA), corneal staining, conjunctival redness, and slit lamp photographs.

Results: Patients consisted of one male and 11 females ranging in age from 27 to 87 years old. Pathologies included ocular graft-versus-host disease (n = 4), Sjögren's syndrome (n = 3), ocular cicatricial pemphigoid (n = 1), pemphigus vulgaris (n = 1), peripheral ulcerative keratitis (n = 1), Stevens-Johnson syndrome (n = 1), and giant papillary conjunctivitis (n = 1). All patients were "improved" or "much improved" on SGA after combinatorial therapy. There was a clinically meaningful reduction in OSDI, ocular discomfort, corneal staining, and conjunctival injection. Additionally, three patients had improvement in their visual acuity (one from 20/400 to 20/20). Adverse effects included increased intraocular pressure in two patients, presumably due to topical steroid use.

Conclusions: Combinatorial therapy provides clinical benefit by reducing the symptoms and signs in recalcitrant OSD. Our study provides the rationale for performing prospective clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of combinatorial therapy for treating recalcitrant OSD.

Keywords: Autoimmune; Methylprednisolone; Ocular surface disease; Pooled human immunoglobulin; Serum tears.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Intraocular Pressure*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmic Solutions / therapeutic use
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tears* / metabolism


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Ophthalmic Solutions