My dry eye has gotten much worse lately so I asked my doctor about serum tears - he was totally on board and said it was the right next step. I left his office feeling so positive about my new treatment option.
If you're not familiar with autologous serum tears (AST) for dry eye, this is a helpful article: https://chronicdryeye.net/regenerative-drops. You can also read about another community member's experience with serum tears: https://chronicdryeye.net/living/autologous-serum-tears/?utm_source=autologous
Then I got the call from the pharmacy. First off, the pharmacy is 1 hour and 15 minutes from my home. I struggle to drive because of my dry eye and my autoimmune conditions. Oh, and there's no way I can take my two young boys with me for this, so I'd have to arrange a sitter.
Then came the costs. About $30 for the blood draw, then around $250 for a 45 day supply of the tears. And if I can't stick around for the many hours it takes to prepare the drops, or return the next day, it's about $50 for overnight shipping. Plus the cost of gas and a sitter.
I asked about getting insurance coverage - explaining that I have great insurance and I've won many battles with them about covering treatments and would like to give it a try. The woman, rather uncompassionately, told me "there's no billing code for your blood."
So I am a bit discouraged. I did find a company, Vital Tears, that will come to my home for the blood draw and has a comparable cost. But I also learned that these serum tears must be frozen and I'm concerned about how I will apply them 4x a day when I'm often out and about with my kids. I don't want to waste them since they have a rather precise expiration date.
My point is that I've heard so many good things about serum tears (and read several experiences on this website) but I did not realize there were so many obstacles to getting them and using them. Has anyone successfully gotten insurance coverage for them?
If I don't get my dry eye under control I'm afraid my inflammatory lesions and/or corneal ulcer will return. I've tried many, many other treatments before getting to this point. Yesterday I couldn't even walk through the grocery store without applying eye drops because slow walking generated too much air flow for me to handle.
I am discouraged that it's so hard and expensive to get this problem under control. It affects my quality of life so severely and I'm shocked that my only option for relief at the moment seems to be spending a lot of money that I don't easily have.
Thanks for reading about my experience trying to get serum tears, any feedback is appreciated!