Albumin Drops for Dry Eye

I met my first patient who has used Albumin drops for dry eyes. 

He came in because he believes a recent new surge of styes and chalazia were caused by his use of albumin drops. He had used a compounding pharmacy in Michigan. Initially, he asked if they could send him autologous serum but in a series of conversations, he realized it was albumin they would be selling him for about $200 for a month. 

Human serum albumin is a small protein synthesized by the liver. It is found in the blood (circulatory system) and is the most abundant plasma protein in our body. It has many crucial roles: regulates inflammation; binds/transports fatty acids, hormones, metabolites, endogenous ligands, and drugs; maintenance of colloid osmotic blood pressures; preserves of blood pH; binds nitric oxide, 

The idea behind albumin started with a couple of papers like the one below. 

Autologous serum contains many proteins, such as interleukins, cytokines, lactoferrin, and immunoglobulins. But serum also has a substantial quantity of other non-defined proteins in the pre-albumin and albumin fractions.

In study below, patients with Sjögren’s syndrome used albumin drops and showed statistically significant improvement in fluorescein and rose bengal scores, but not in tear break up time and subjective symptoms. No adverse effects of albumin were observed during the study. The use of albumin as a protein supplement in artificial tear solutions is a viable approach in the treatment of ocular surface disorders associated with tear deficiency.

Recombinant HSA (rHSA) has been successfully produced using a methylotrophic yeast, Pichia pastoris but I could not find a comparison of Human Albumin drops versus recombinant ones. 

Recombinant albumin drops (5% or 10% recombinant albumin in some studies) can be obtained from Hyalein Mini, Santen Pharmaceuticals, Osaka, Japan or other compounding pharmacies.

Most studies and doctors have noted that Autologous Serum is prefereable to Albumin drops as AS has grown factos, lysozymes, cytokines which help heal ocular suface tissue. 

Still there are some patients who cannot have their blood drawn or have poor veins: they may benefit from Albumin drops. 

I could not find a case report of a chalazion after the use of Albumin drops, but this might be the first report of an association. 



. 2003 Oct; 87(10): 1279–1283.

Albumin as a tear supplement in the treatment of severe dry eye

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