The Dry Eye Zone

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Newblurb: BOS-P at Doheny

Nice to see some notice of this taken in local press.

Ocular Prosthesis Offers New View for Patients

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - 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 (BOS-P) is now available at the Perry Rosenthal Clinic at the USC Doheny Eye Institute. The prosthesis, 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 say.

“One of our patients with dry eyes was almost forced to quit her job,” said Samuel Yiu, medical director of the clinic and a 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 Administration in 1994, previously required patients to travel to the Boston Foundation for Sight in Massachusetts to be fitted for the lens. The lens has been available since last October at satellite clinics established at the Doheny Eye Institute, Baylor University and the Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas. The Doheny Eye Institute clinic has fitted 25 patients with the prosthesis and is working with many others from throughout the United States. The clinic is led by Yiu, executive director John Irvine and Gloria Chiu, the chief optometrist.

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 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, said Irvine. 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.

After being fitted for and trained to use the prosthesis, patients return to the clinic for regular lens maintenance. The cost of the prosthesis is in the $7,000 range for patients without insurance. Irvine and Yiu are working to find a way to offer financial assistance to qualified patients once funding becomes available.

For information on the BOS-P, or to make an appointment, call (323) 442-6337 or visit doheny.org.
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