Autologous serum eye drops (ASEDs) are used worldwide to treat dry eye disease (DED); however, little is known about their biological composition and predictive factors of efficacy. Hoping to close this gap, French researchers studied the responses of DED patients treated with ASEDs. They also performed undiluted serum biological characterization to gain a better understanding of the drops from a biological standpoint.

This retrospective, observational study included 87 eyes of 50 patients with DED refractory to conventional treatment with Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) scores ≥20. Each patient used eight drops of 20% diluted ASEDs a day per treated eye. The team recorded patient symptoms before ASED initiation and around the sixth month of treatment. Responders were defined as those who exhibited an improvement in OSDI score from baseline ≥14 points, in corneal fluorescence staining ≥1 grade or both.

The team discovered that the OSDI and the Oxford scale were significantly reduced from 68.7 ± 23.2 to 54.8 ± 25.7 and 3.2 ± 1.5 to 2.1 ± 1.3, respectively. They note that 68% of the patients were responders, adding that non-responding patients had significantly higher epidermal growth factor concentrations in the serum compared with responding patients.

While these findings are a step in the right direction toward a better understanding of ASEDs, the study authors conclude that biological differences observed between responders and non-responders suggest that more knowledge of the biological activity of ASEDs is still required. 

Levy N, Yin GHW, Noharet R, et al. A retrospective analysis of characteristic features of responder patients to autologous serum eye drops in routine care. Ocul Surf. May 16, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].