New Prosthesis Offered at Doheny Eye Center
A special prosthesis that fits over the entire eye is bringing hope to patients suffering from corneal irregularities and severe dry eye.
The Boston Ocular Surface Prosthesis is now available at the Perry Rosenthal Clinic at the Doheny Eye Center on the USC Health Sciences campus.
The prosthesis, which is about the size of a quarter, bathes the eye in saline solution and is thin enough that the patient can easily blink. The prostheses are custom designed and fitted to each patient, who is then trained on proper insertion and removal of the devices. The extra work is worth the trouble, patients report.
“One of our patients with dry eyes was almost forced to quit her job,” said Samuel Yiu, medical director of the clinic and cornea specialist. “Now she is enjoying her work and her life again. Most of our patients feel the prosthesis gives them a new lease on their lives.”
The prosthesis, developed by Perry Rosenthal and approved by the Food and Drug Association in 1994, has been offered at the Rosenthal Clinic at the Doheny Eye Center since October 2009. The clinic has fitted 25 patients with the prosthesis and is working with many others throughout the United States. The clinic is led by Yiu, executive director John Irvine and chief optometrist Gloria Chiu.
The device is designed for patients with keratoconus, a degenerative disease that affects the cornea, as well as other painful and potentially blinding diseases and conditions such as post-corneal transplant astigmatism and severe dry eye. The prosthesis fits on top of the sclera, which has few nerve endings.
Preservative-free saline solution is poured into a well in the center of the prosthesis. When the prosthesis is placed correctly, the patient can see through the saline solution. The saline solution serves as a kind of protective “bandage” on the eye.
“The scleral footing of the prosthesis along with the ability to bathe the cornea in fluid allows a tremendous amount of improvement in selected patients’ vision, comfort and quality of life,” Irvine said. “Recognition of its potential for patient comfort and rehabilitation is growing. More physicians are weighing in on the device, which allows for positive feedback for further development.”