Eye drops engineered to contain growth factors and vitamins similar to those in human tears are a promising therapy for ocular surface disease and associated symptoms, a recent study suggests.

This observational study evaluated 53 patients with either systemic diseases (group 1) or localized ocular surface diseases (group 2) who were prescribed autologous serum tears. Investigators analyzed the concentrations of a handful of different growth factors and vitamins and calculated Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) scores prior to and six weeks after initiation of treatment.

The researchers found that the average concentration of epidermal growth factor in group 1 (29.39±52.85pg/ml) was significantly lower than it was in group 2 (88.04±113.75pg/ml). They noted that levels of fibronectin, interleukin-8 and vitamin A were similar in both groups. The team also discovered a 24% reduction in OSDI scores six weeks after initiation in group 1 compared with a 36% reduction in group 2, both of which were significant.

“The differences between levels of epidermal growth factor in patients with localized ocular surface disease and systemic inflammatory disease may account for differences in therapeutic outcome,” the study authors concluded in their paper.

Ripa M, Jabbehdari S, Yazdanpanah G, et al. The role of multisystem disease in composition of autologous serum tears and ocular surface symptom improvement. Ocul Surf. February 29, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].