By Marel Evans, Costa Rica Star / QHealth

New eye care technology at the universal health care system (Caja) means that patients unable to produce tears to bathe the eye have relief from this painful condition, reports the national newspaper La Nacion.

And cornea transplants today have an unprecedentedly low chance of being rejected due to new techniques.

The paper cited the case of Amalia Alfaro, a Tica who endured three years of a painful condition of “dry eye,” in which tear ducts to one eye ceased to function properly.

Normal eye drops did not help her but finally Caja eye doctors devised eye drops using her own blood serum, to which anti-inflammatory medicine and the right PH factor was added. She reported immediate relief.

Blood was withdrawn and placed in a centrifuge to separate corpuscles from the fluid part. To this liquid was added the other factors. “I see better, my eye moistness is normal,” she told La Nacion, “The best part is the the serum is made in just a short time.”

In fact, Dr. Roberto Velasquez, director of the Caja eye bank, says the preparation can be made in just an hour. The patient gets nine bottles of artificial tears good for three months.

The beauty of the system is that, since this is made from the patient’s own blood, chances of allergic reaction are nil.

But that is just the start of new techniques. Chances of rejection of cornea implants is now reduced by only replacing the damaged part of the cornea.

“There are people,” says Velasquez, “who have had two, three, up to four transplants and have rejected them all.” The paper cited the case of Harold Chacon, 12, who had eye problems from birth.

He had several transplants, including the implant of an artificial cornea in Colombia, all without success. But he reported that just two weeks after the new surgery he can distinguish light and shapes.

But doctors at public hospitals here have become adept also at using the placenta internal lining to aid eye patients. This tissue had been found effective with patients with inflammatory eye conditions, or after severe blows to the eye.

Velaquez hails the tissue, applied to the eye and often held on with a bandage, as being a “biological cure that helps heal (eye) injuries or illness in a natural way.”

The curative membrane is obtained in Caesarian births and carries the benefit of not being from a fetus and so does not violate Catholic religious principals.