Dry eye patients may have a new potential source of relief for their symptoms: cord blood and peripheral adult donor blood serum eye drops. Researchers in Italy compared the effects of the two treatments for dry eye and found both improved signs of the condition, although cord blood was better in lessening subjective symptoms and reducing corneal damage.

The multi-center, double-masked clinical trial enrolled 60 patients with severe dry eye disease associated with persistent corneal epithelial defects. The patients were divided into two equal groups. Group A was treated with cord blood serum and Group B used peripheral adult donor blood serum eye drops. The subjects received the eye drops eight times a day for one month.

Patients who relapsed in signs or symptoms after two months switched to the other treatment for an additional month.

The study found the cord blood serum patients had a significant reduction in corneal staining results. Additionally, visual analogue and OSDI scores were reduced in both groups, but patients in the cord blood serum group reported they felt less grittiness and pain.

Nineteen patients shifted treatment in the crossover period, with a better recovery seen in the cord blood serum period.

The study also found reduced epithelial damage was positively linked to epidermal growth factor, transforming growth factor-α and platelet-derived growth factor content. Also of note: levels of interleukins were positively associated with a decrease in symptoms.

Campos E, Versura P, Buzzi M, et al. Blood derived treatment from two allogeneic sources for severe dry eye associated to keratopathy: a multi-center randomized cross over clinical trial. Br J Ophthalmol. November 19, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].