Dr. Stewart Shofner Answers Top Ten Questions About Amniotic Membrane Graft Procedure for Vision Improvement
Renowned Eye Dr. Stewart Shofner has successfully used Amniotic Membrane Graft procedures on patients to promote healing from recurrent corneal erosions, corneal chemical burns, foreign body removal, pterygium (surfer's eye), corneal epithelial defects, after PRK, and in other cases.
About Amniotic Membrane Grafts
Amniotic membrane is the innermost layer of the placenta consisting of a thick basement membrane and an avascular stromal matrix. It can be used as a graft and as a dressing to facilitate ocular surface reconstruction and to promote healing. This fairly quickly procedure is performed typically at an Ophthalmologist's office versus a surgical center.
The amniotic graft procedure begins with the patient comfortably relaxed in an exam chair. A speculum is placed to hold the eyelids off the surface of the cornea. "After the speculum is in place, I will apply a numbing drop on my patient's eye and place the graft directly on the corneal surface where it's needed most," says Dr. Shofner. If the placement is directly over the cornea, a bandage contact lens (non-prescription) will be placed directly over the graft, and the speculum is removed.
Dr. Stewart Shofner answers top ten questions commonly asked by patients about this effective reconstructive procedure.
- Is the graft made from fetal tissue? No. It's made from a tiny layer of human amniotic tissue (the sac that holds a baby). The amniotic sac is donated to science (by consent) after a baby is born.
- Is the graft wet? No. The graft is dry and much thinner than a sheet of paper.
- How long does it take to work? Usually within 5 days a patient will notice tremendous relief. The graft naturally absorbs into the surface of the cornea within 7-10 days.
- Is the procedure painful? No. A patient may feel slight pressure from the speculum at the time of the graft placement. Some may also feel the bandage contact lens.
- What if the bandage contact lens falls out? It is recommended patients do not try to put the lens back in their eye but to contact their Ophthalmologist immediately.
- Can eye drops be used after the procedure? Yes. Patients should continue to use eye drops as instructed by their medical professional.
- Are grafts tested for disease? Yes. A rigorous testing process is used to determine the highest quality disease-free tissue available for use in the creation of the graft. Any undesirable results from testing will indicate that the tissue is not fit for use, and the tissue is disposed of properly.
- Is this the same as a corneal transplant? No. The procedure is not the same as a corneal transplant. However, this process can be used before requiring a transplant, as it's less invasive.
- Does insurance cover it? Typically, yes. If medical necessity can be proven, typically, medical insurance will cover this procedure. Of course, this will follow a patient's policy guidelines, according to copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. If insurance is denied, Shofner Vision Center will assist patients with an alternate payment plan.
- Which amniotic grafts are the best? Many companies produce quality amniotic grafts. "BioDOptix is one of the quality brands we use for our patients and have had great success," says Dr. Shofner. BioDOptix® is a dehydrated, extracellular membrane allograft derived from human amniotic tissue for use as a scaffold for ocular tissue repair and regeneration.
Additionally, it's important for patients to know that vision may be very blurry immediately after the procedure. "Many patients claim it feels as if they are looking through water," says Dr. Shofner. Visual acuity continues to improve daily and tremendous relief within a week.
About Dr. Stewart Shofner
Harvard Graduate, Dr. Stewart Shofner has been practicing in Nashville since 1990, is Board Certified and one of the country's premier eye surgeons. As a renowned eye surgeon, Dr. Shofner has performed over 30,000 LASIK/PRK vision correction surgeries, more than 10,000 cataract surgeries and offers a variety of treatments to improve vision including the amniotic membrane graft procedure.
About Shofner Vision CenterShofner Vision Center offers comprehensive eye exams, complimentary LASIK exams, Cataract and LASIK vision correction surgery, dry eye treatment, and eye disease diagnosis and treatment. Our vision center provides patients with the most appropriate and customized options to improve their vision. Contact us today at (615) 340-4733 or schedule your appointment online.