Autogous serum eye drops may have the potential to reverse severe contact-lens induced limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) and prevent the need for surgery, especially when the condition is treated early and aggressively, a team of Taiwan researchers suggest.

Their study enrolled 20 eyes of 14 patients with severe CL-induced LSCD. All eyes underwent the serum eye drop treatment for at least two weeks with a follow-up of approximately two months.   

Patients, on average, were 30 years old, wore contact lenses for about 16 years, and had pain and blurred vision at presentation. All eyes had recurrent or persistent corneal epithelial defect, stromal scarring and opacity and superficial vascularization and peripheral pannus.

Aggressive treatment with the serum eye drops was successful in all eyes, with signs and symptoms of LSCD stabilizing within two weeks. Complete resolution occurred in six eyes at the two-week mark (30%), in nine eyes at four weeks (45%) and in five eyes after eight weeks (25%).

Although the incidence of CL-induced LSCD may be underestimated as mild— and many moderate cases may be asymptomatic—approximately 2.4% to 5% of CL wearers develop signs of LSCD, the study noted.

“There is a high prevalence of severe CL-induced LSCD among symptomatic patients that sought help because of painful eye and blurred vision in our case series,” the researchers wrote in their paper. “Therefore, it is essential that patients wearing

CLs, particularly soft CLs, receive annual examinations with a high degree of suspicion for the condition.”

The investigators emphasized the importance of early identification and suggested an aggressive treatment of analogous serum eye drops for CL-induced ocular surface diseases in an attempt to reverse the limbal damage and prevent the need for further surgical intervention.

Yeah SI, Chu TW, Cheng HC, et al. The use of autologous serum to reverse severe contact lens-induced limbal stem cell deficiency. Cornea. January 24, 2020. [Epub ahead of print].