Treatment options for patients with complications
Elizabeth St. Philip and Avis Favaro, W5
Published Friday, April 5, 2019 4:00PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 5, 2019 6:48PM EDT
Below are treatment options for patients with complications after LASIK treatments. Related story: Families deal with repercussions after rare but severe complications from laser eye surgery
Patients who already have corneal neuralgia say they're left to fend for themselves to find treatments that are experimental and expensive.
Researchers in the U.S. and other parts of the world are working with those affected to find ways of coping with eye pain, dryness and other symptoms.
Here is a summary of what we have learned from doctors, patients and support groups:
-Some doctors get good results prescribing nortriptylene, low dose naltrexone and carbamazepine.
- Some patients turn to autologous blood serum, eye drops that are made from their own blood. Studies suggest it can boost nerve growth within 3 to 4 months
--Doctors sometimes prescribe corticosteroids to treat ocular surface inflammation.
- Special contact lenses help protect irritated and damaged eyes. PROKERA is a “bandage” contact lens made from human placenta that decreases inflammation. The treatment costs $1,200 per eye
-- Doctors are also fitting patients with a specially-designed scleral lens. They cover the entire cornea and reduce the evaporation of tears from the surface and reduce eye pain. But they can cost $4,000 per eye.
- Some patients require a combination of these therapies.
Click on these charts from the Ophthalmology Journal for further information:
- One patient who suffered from post Lasik corneal neuralgia for 8 years, was treated with an implanted pain pump that delivers a powerful narcotic fentanyl into her eyes through a catheter threaded through her spine.
This video was produced by Tufts Medical center:
Dr. Pedram Hamrah at Tufts Medical Center offers a combination of treatments.
“I would like to point out that the sooner we see these patients the faster they get better," said Dr. Hamrah. "I think the urgency is that the patients find the right doctor to get treated and …patients understand that the problem is treatable and they are not alone.”
Unfortunately, no one offered these remedies when Jessica Starr was desperate for help. Her family is left wondering if she would still be alive, if only she was referred for treatment in time.
"I know if she did not have the procedure she'd still be here," said her husband, Dan Rose.
They want to use Jessica's celebrity to raise awareness about complications that can occur—no matter how rare—and to pressure doctors to provide followup-care when patients develop problems.
"Jessica was in the media, now we have an opportunity to give all these people a voice to let them be heard because they are suffering," said her brother, Ryan.