FAB trial

FAB eye logo with blood drop

The feasibility of Fingerprick Autologous Blood (FAB) as a novel treatment for severe dry eye disease (DED): a randomised controlled trial.

Dry eye disease (DED) is an umbrella term encompassing a range of diseases estimated to affect 14% of all adults aged 48 to 91. If left untreated, DED can lead to a severe reduction in the quality of life of a sufferer and can cause loss of vision, pain in response to light, painful recurring stabbing sensations and the feeling of grit in the affected eye(s). Currently, conventional treatments for dry eyes (artificial tears, punctal plugs and anti-inflammatory drugs) often only alleviate symptoms. 

Crudely, human tears with its vast constituents is essentially filtered blood and as such it is an obvious source for a "tear mimic". Blood and several blood derived products, including autologous serum (AS), have been studied as tear substitute candidates. Whilst AS eye drops have been found to be beneficial in DED patients, by improving the ocular surface and reducing symptoms, obtaining AS requires frequent drawing of blood from the patient— a feature that excludes patients with anaemia or heart failure. Additionally, many patients do not have access to this treatment, as it can cost thousands of pounds every few months.

This study proposes to test the use of finger prick autologous blood (FAB), a technique in which a patient can simply prick their cleaned finger with a diabetic lancet and apply the fresh whole blood, with all is constituents, directly to their eye.

We are working with Bedford Hospital NHS Trust to examine how well fingerpicked autologous blood (FAB) can treat patients suffering from DED.

This feasibility study will compare the use of fingerpicked autologous blood (FAB) alongside conventional treatment (artificial tears and lid massage with lid hygiene) to conventional treatment alone. The patients will be randomised to one of the groups in order to avoid bias in selecting them for a particular treatment. 

For further information regarding the FAB trial, please contact the CTU by emailing: arctu@anglia.ac.uk