What is an amniotic membrane?
Amniotic membranes are harvested from donor placental tissue by elective cesarean section births. The donors are rigorously screened for transmittable disease and the tissue is immediately treated with broad spectrum antibiotics. These medical devices have been used for over a century to help with stubborn wound healing. The properties allow for faster recovery, less inflammation, and less scarring.
What are amniotic membranes used for?
There is a wide range of use for amniotic membranes, but in general it is indicated when inflammation and scarring of the cornea or conjunctiva is of concern. This includes: severe dry eye, corneal abrasions, chemical burns, corneal ulcers, and recurrent corneal erosions.
What does an amniotic membrane feel like?
Amniotic membranes either come frozen or dehydrated. The dehydrated versions have become more widely used because of the increased shelf life, easier storage at room temperature, and without the need to defrost prior to insertion. The membrane is about the same size as the iris and is placed directly onto the cornea. A bandage contact lens is placed over top of the membrane. Therefore, they are comfortable and feel like having a contact lens in the eye. The vision will be cloudy through the amniotic membrane, which is why we typically would treat one eye at a time so that the patent can function during the treatment.
How much do amniotic membranes cost?
Generally, a patient's medical insurance will cover the amniotic membrane placement, but a prior authorization may be required to ensure the claim will be paid