Fresno eye specialists treating dry eye disease with serum tears

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- If you're suffering from dry, burning eyes, you may have a common condition that some doctors say can go undiagnosed.

According to an optometrist at the Eye Medical Center of Fresno, low humidity and bad air quality in the Valley increase a person's risk for dry eye disease.

Dr. Paul Gaede said it's also about what you put in your body.

"When you have somebody taking an antihistamine, they think it's drying their nose out. Guess what it's doing with your eyes? Dries the eyes right out with it," he explained.

Marie Theurich went through three years of eye discomfort. Her doctor and a specialist couldn't seem to find the right treatment for her dry eyes.

"Just for my eyes, all different kinds of eyedrops. None of them worked. No difference. That went on for over a year, and I was miserable," Theurich said.

In 2018, Dr. Mehdi Ghajar, with the Eye Medical Center of Fresno, diagnosed Theurich with dry eye disease.

For Theurich's dry eyes, she was able to find comfort after being prescribed serum tears -- which are eye drops made out of her own blood.

Specialists said the drops have healing and nurturing properties beyond that of over-the-counter artificial tears.

"At first in 2018, I was putting them in, I would say, three to four times a day," recalled Theurich. "Now I'm down to a couple of times a day. The first thing in the morning when I wake up, that's what I do. It's a miracle."

The Eye Medical Center is treating around 300 patients with serum tears.

Dr. Gaede said it's the last resort for patients whose eyes don't improve with eye drops.

To avoid getting to that point, he recommends using a humidifier at home or in your office.

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