PROKERA® is a therapeutic device used by eye doctors around the world to protect, repair and heal damaged eye surfaces. The mechanism is similar to a contact lens, with a ring at the periphery that is filled with a clear, natural amniotic membrane material. The membrane provides natural therapeutic actions to the ocular surface that promote repair and healing, as well as reducing scarring, inflammation and pain. The membrane itself is clear, like the tissue on the surface of the eye.
In an in-office procedure, Dr. Belmont places the PROKERA lens over the cornea, just like a regular contact lens. The lens is left in place for several days, allowing the membrane that it contains to stimulate the body’s own growth factors to reduce inflammation and promote faster, less painful healing. Dr. Belmont will indicate when one should return to have the contact and ring removed.
What Can Prokera Treat?
The FDA has determined Prokera to be safe and effective for the treatment of eye diseases including keratitis, corneal scars, chemical burns, corneal defects, partial limbal stem cell deficiency and many other ocular surface diseases that cause inflammation, including Dry Eye Syndrome. The “corneal bandage” can also be used to prevent ocular complications of Stevens-Johnson syndrome, pterygia (growths on the clear outer tissue of the eye) and cicatricial pemphigoid (an autoimmune disease that affects the conjunctiva).
Prokera For Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears or there is an imbalance in the composition of the tears that causes them to evaporate from the ocular surface too quickly. Symptoms of dry eye syndrome can include red, irritated, itchy eyes, sensitivity to light, and blurry vision. Dry eye is often controlled with eyedrops or artificial tears that may or may not address the root cause of the problem. As the symptoms of dry eye syndrome worsen, additional treatment becomes necessary. If left untreated, dry eye can lead to long-term complications like eye infection and corneal scarring.
Because of its special natural healing properties, PROKERA is a good way to restore the ocular surface to optimal health and reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of severe dry eye. It can help resolve pain and inflammation quickly, providing much needed relief. A survey of patients that used PROKERA for dry eye showed that 93 percent of the patients felt better after treatment.
Is Prokera Safe?
PROKERA is a safe, effective treatment that’s used by many professional eye experts and is regulated by the FDA. The device has passed many quality control tests before it is provided to your doctor. Set up your consultation with Dr. Sandra Belmont if you have any questions or concerns about this treatment.
Are There Any Special Instructions To Follow While Prokera Is Inserted?
- Avoid rubbing your eyes, strongly blinking or moving the PROKERA lens with your fingers.
- Do not remove PROKERA without first consulting Dr. Belmont.
- Do not swim or soak your face with water.
- Keep your eyes tightly shut while in the shower.
- Do not drive or operate heavy machinery or perform functions that require unobstructed vision or good depth perception.
- Use drops and medications exactly as instructed by Dr. Belmont.
- Contact Dr. Belmont right away if you are uncomfortable or have any problems with PROKERA.
What Should Prokera Not Be Used For?
PROKERA is not a cure-all; there are certain circumstances in which it should not be used. If it is used for purposes to which it is not suited, it can delay more suitable treatment.
For example, PROKERA should not be the first line of defense in every case of dry eye or ocular surface disease. Other treatments like topical steroids and other topical therapies may need to be explored first. Also, PROKERA is not appropriate for every case of an active infectious keratitis (inflammation of the cornea) or scleritis (inflammation of the sclera) where an antimicrobial therapy has not yet been used. PROKERA doesn’t have antimicrobial properties and can interfere with the infection.
Because PROKERA is not a band aid solution to every problem, it is extremely important to work with a doctor like Dr. Belmont, who has a comprehensive understanding of what PROKERA can and cannot accomplish.
Dry Eye: PROKERA isn’t right for every case of dry eye. For example, in cases where dry eye is caused by a problem with the eyelid’s meibomian glands, which produce the oily layer of the tear film, LipiFlow may be a better option. LipiFlow uses a combination of gentle heat and massage to loosen any hardened oil or debris that may be clogging the glands. Then, the glands can be expressed (emptied) and restored to their normal function.
Keratitis: Cases of infectious keratitis can require treatment other than PROKERA. Most importantly, antibacterial, antifungal or antiviral therapy should be used to control the infection. Occasionally, steroid eyedrops are needed to reduce inflammation and limit scarring.
Learn More About Prokera
New York patients who would like more information about when the use of PROKERA is (and isn’t) appropriate, Dr. Belmont invites you to contact Belmont Eye Center. Please call or email us today.