How Amniotic Membranes Improve Eye Care for Corneal and Conjunctival Diseases
Human amniotic membranes are highly effective for mending chronic wounds that won’t heal and fail to respond to traditional treatments. These slivers of amniotic tissue taken from the placenta during elective cesarean sections have been used by the medical community for nearly a century, but only in the past decade have optometrists and other eye care professionals embraced amniotic membranes for their natural anti-inflammatory and anti-scarring properties. At Access Eye, our doctors may recommend amniotic membranes for various corneal and conjunctival diseases to rehabilitate the eye’s surface.
What Are Amniotic Membranes?
Amniotic membranes are found in the innermost avascular layer of fetal membranes. These cells are harvested in a sterile environment from full-term placental tissue and treated with antibiotics during collection. Donors undergo screening to ensure healthy tissue donations free from transmissible diseases.
Amniotic membranes contain three layers that play crucial roles in the healing process — epithelium, basement membrane, and stroma. Collagen found in the basement membrane of these amniotic cells closely resembles tissues in the cornea (clear dome at the front of the eye) and conjunctiva (the transparent coating that lines the eyelids and eyeball). That collagen promotes cellular growth at an impressive rate on the ocular surface. The stroma layer contains fetal hyaluronic acid and cytokines that decrease inflammation.
These cells work as a biological bandage contact lens that also promotes epithelial growth and prevents cell death. The tissue both protects the cornea or eye wound and promotes healing. These unique abilities allow our optometrists to place human donor tissue on the eye that prevents scarring and inflammation for patients with significant corneal abrasions and other issues with the eye’s surface.
What Eye Concerns Can Amniotic Membranes Treat?
Amniotic membranes are a natural and suture-less treatment that improves challenging concerns with the eye’s surface that refuse to heal and are resistant to traditional methods. While it’s not a first-line treatment, the use of amniotic membranes can improve healing and prevent scarring for these eye conditions and more:
- Recurrent corneal injuries
- Severe dry eye caused by corneal disturbances
- Chemical or physical burns
- Neurotrophic ulcers linked to diabetes, herpes zoster, herpes simplex, and other conditions
Suture-less amniotic membranes are a valuable tool our optometrists may use to help heal eye injuries and diseases. They are a quick, safe, and effective treatment that leads to excellent clinical outcomes. Amniotic membranes are a revolutionary treatment for ocular surface diseases and may improve patient outcomes for specific eye injuries or infections that are resistant to healing.
Schedule An Eye Exam at Access Eye
Our skilled eye doctors at Access Eye offer amniotic membrane treatment and have multiple locations to give our patients better access to care. Schedule an eye exam at one of our offices in Fredericksburg, Stafford, King George, and Spotsylvania, Virginia, to discuss your eye health. Speak with a member of the Access Eye team at (540) 371-2020.