20th February 2018
Serum eye drops are made from blood and used to treat a wide range of conditions from severe dry-eye to burns and ulcers in the eye. This product can be made from donated blood but most patients have better results when the eye drops are made from their own blood. The blood is processed to separate the fluid, known as the serum, from the blood, which is then diluted with salt water and added to dropper bottles for the patient to use at home.’
Prior to 2011, all patients prescribed ASE's in Ireland had their serum shipped to Speke, Liverpool for processing. The product was then shipped back to Ireland and issued to the patient by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS).
The Galway Blood and Tissue Establishment (GBTE) at Galway University Hospital has dedicated years of service to obtaining the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) license to produce autologous and allogeneic serum eye drops.
Galway University Hospital is the only hospital in Ireland licensed to produce Serum Eye drops (SE's).
The ASE team in Galway Blood and Tissue Establishment (GBTE) carried out extensive research into the manufacture of the product in various sites worldwide and the therapeutic benefits of the treatment, and felt that GBTE had the resources, skill and knowledge to address this service need in Ireland.As there is no other site in Ireland manufacturing this product, all aspects of the procedure from patient assessment and acceptance, donation, production, release and follow up has been devised entirely by GBTE.
There are many patients throughout the country whose lives have been drastically improved thanks to this treatment. One recent patient began using ASE's in April 2017 after developing Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) in his eyes following an allogeneic bone marrow transplant in July 2015. The GVHD had severely affected his vision in both eyes, as well as causing severe pain and grittiness in the eyes. Since he started using the ASE's the patients sight has drastically improved, so much so that he can now drive again. He credits the ASE's with giving him back his independence and hugely improving his quality of life.