Purpose: To describe the safety and efficacy of autologous serum tears (AST) in managing ocular surface disease resistant to conventional therapy in patients with systemic autoimmune disease(s). Design: Retrospective, interventional case series. Methods: Records of patients from 2009 to 2015 with systemic autoimmune disease treated with AST (20%–50%) for chronic surface disease were analyzed. Standardized measures of subjective dry eye symptoms, objective dry eye staining of the cornea, and slit-lamp findings including punctate epithelial erosion (PEE), filamentary keratopathy (FK), and corneal epithelial defects (KED) were compared during first and last visit. We attempted to standardize outcomes by creating a scale from 1 to 4 for subjective and objective components: worsening (1), no improvement (2), partial improvement (3), and complete resolution (4). Results: Fifty-one patients (101 eyes) were included. The mean age was 59.8 ± 13.2 years (72.5% female). Average use of AST was 14.3 ± 11.7 months. Complete objective improvement of initial slit-lamp findings was achieved in 30% and partial improvement in 55% of eyes. Presence of PEE, FK, and KED decreased from 92.1% to 52.5% (P <.001), from 22.8% to 9.9% (P =.02), and from 5% to 2% (P =.44) of the eyes, respectively. Full subjective improvement of symptoms was achieved in 34.6%, partial in 50.5%, and none in 14.9% of patients. No adverse side effects were noted during follow-up. Conclusions: AST are a safe and effective adjunct therapy in improving both objective signs and subjective symptoms of ocular surface disorders associated with systemic autoimmune disease(s).
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