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Amniotic Membranes for Dry Eye and Corneal Scarring

Amniotic membrane disks are a revolutionary new treatment for severe cases of dry eye and corneal scarring.

Amniotic Membranes for Dry Eye and Corneal Scarring in Bellflower

Amplify Eyecare of Greater Long Beach

Sometimes, the typical treatments for dry eye aren’t effective enough for severe cases. Amniotic membrane disks are a new FDA approved treatment which is effective at treating difficult to treat or severe cases of dry eye. 

What are Amniotic Membrane Disks?

Amniotic membrane disks are specially made lenses with, in the center, amniotic membranes ethically obtained from stem cell tissues. These provide both a nourishing and protective barrier for better corneal health, and rejuvenating stem cell contributions that can help heal and protect the cornea in the future. It has also been shown to stimulate regeneration of damaged nerve terminals, which in some patients is the cause of their neuropathic corneal pain.

What are Amniotic Membrane Disks?
How Do Amniotic Membranes Work?

How Do Amniotic Membranes Work?

Amniotic membranes are made of tissue rich in stem cells, and they function as a short-term corneal graft. Effectively, it both protects the vulnerable tissues of the eye while also stimulating its repair through the introduction of beneficial biomolecules directly linked to corneal regeneration.

Amniotic membrane disks are applied in office by a doctor, in a quick and simple procedure. The membrane, secured in a round, flexible ring, is carefully inserted beneath both the upper and lower eyelids so the membrane completely covers the front surface of the eye. The process is quick, only taking a few minutes, and with the aid of a numbing drop, involves minimal discomfort.

Following their insertion, the eyelids are generally kept shut, either with surgical tape or gauze, to protect the amniotic membrane. Over the next several days, the membrane is absorbed into the corneal tissue, and the regenerative stem cells it contained start to repair the damaged ocular surface.

How Do Amniotic Membranes Work?

Once the membrane is completely absorbed or dissolved (within 7-10 days), the plastic ring is removed from where it was placed beneath the eyelids

During this process, the doctor may check the membrane several times to make sure it is in the proper spot, and evaluate the overall cornea health on a regular basis over the weeks or months following the application. The therapeutic effects of this treatment lasts for an extended period of time, providing sustainable treatment for damaged ocular surfaces.

What Conditions Do Amniotic Membranes Treat?

In addition to preventing additional damage to the cornea, amniotic membranes help treat several eye conditions, including:

  • Dry eye
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Corneal erosion
  • Damage from contact lens overwear
  • Thermal or chemical burns to the eyes
  • Eye infections
  • Epithelial corneal defects
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Keratitis
  • Neurotrophic keratopathy
  • Sjogren's Disease 
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
What are Amniotic Membrane Disks?
How Do Amniotic Membranes Work?

Amniotic Membrane Disks Compared to Other Treatment Methods for Dry Eye

 

More common treatments for dry eye, such as eye drops, are less effective in severe cases, and are not able to treat the surface of the eye. Amniotic membrane disks, with their regenerative properties, are capable of healing a damaged cornea in addition to treating dry eye, decreasing discomfort, and improving vision.

One study, the Dry Eye Amniotic Membrane (DREAM) study, found this treatment to be extremely effective on patients for whom other treatment options had not been able to help, within less than a week of starting it. 

Common Questions

The cost of amniotic membranes is high, however in many cases the cost is covered by your medical insurance. In addition the therapeutic effects after treatment may not be permanent and may be dependent on the type of condition being treated. Amniotic membranes are not simple to produce as they come from the innermost layer of fetal membranes—composed of the epithelium, basement membrane and stroma—collected from full-term placental tissue. This tissue is extremely difficult to produce but has been shown to be extremely effective for those suffering from corneal conditions by promoting cellular growth and reducing inflammation. Your medical insurance including medicare generally covers the cost of amniotic membranes when deemed medically necessary, however it is always best to discuss your specific case with our eye doctor to determine if your insurance will cover the procedure.
The goal of amniotic membranes is to enable our eyes to heal naturally after a condition that has caused trauma, inflammation, or scarring on the cornea. In some cases the treatment may not be permanent. During a large study done on the impact of amniotic membranes the following conditions had a 100% success rate: corneal ulcers neurotrophic keratitis; post-keratoplasty, glaucoma or cataract; bullous keratopathy; corneal degeneration; dystrophy; mechanical trauma; reconstruction of the anophthalmic cavity; eyelid reconstruction; and dysfunctional tear syndrome. Amniotic membrane treatment had varying success when analyzed after a 1 year period for the following conditions: mucous membrane pemphigoid, Stevens-Johnson or Lyell’s syndrome, reconstruction of the conjunctiva and fornix, neoplasia of the ocular surface, primary and secondary limbal stem cell deficiency, physical trauma, chemical trauma, pterygium, and recurrent epithelial erosions. As with any advanced treatment it is always recommended to speak with our eye doctors about your particular condition before considering the treatment.
Amniotic Membranes for Dry Eye and Corneal Scarring
Dr. Ikeda cartoon

Summary

Amniotic membrane treatment is a new, effective method for treating severe cases of dry eye where there is damage to the surface of the eye thanks to its regenerative properties.  If you have additional questions about amniotic membranes, or wish to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ikeda you can contact Amplify EyeCare of Greater Long Beach at (562) 925-6591. Patients with dry eyes visit our clinic from all over California, and we are proud to be a leading provider of dry eye care for patients from Bellflower, Long Beach, Lakewood, and Los Angeles.

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Testimonials


I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.


Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.


Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!


Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.


Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.


Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.


Daniel G.
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