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Serum eye drops - re-using the vials

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  • Serum eye drops - re-using the vials

    My wife has just received her autologous serum eye drops which have been made up by the Red Cross (for free) here in Melbourne, Australia. Altogether she has 180 vials - actually they are small plastic tubes. The instructions are to take enough tubes out of the freezer each morning that Kathy will use for that day and put them in the fridge. They then say to cut the top of each tube using scissors that have been wiped with alcohol wipes to disinfect them.

    They say that once cut each vial should be immediately used then discarded. This means that, as Kathy is to use the drops 3 times a day, the 180 vials will last 60 days.

    I wanted to ask other people who have used serum drops if they discard their vials immediately even though there is still serum in them, or if they re-use them so they can get them to last longer. I am not suggesting keeping them open for any length of time, but I was wondering if it is safe to perhaps use an open vial for maybe the 3 drops over the course of a day.

    I know there is a risk of contamination and would not want to take undue risk, but I am curious to see what others are doing.

  • #2
    surprisedu get so little . i get 4 bags of 350 vials approx so at 4daily it lasts me for a year . once i open a vial i use immediately and throw . otherwise huge contamination risk. i defreeze each separate vial 15min prior use as this feels cool on eyes . i know it seems like a waste and i spoke to red cross and they thinking of doing resealable vials in future . but personally this wouldn't suit me as then it wouldnt b as cold from recent defrost.


    • #3
      Well, if it were me, given the fact that the containers are not re-sealeable and you'd have to leave the open end exposed to air (air which may very well contain bacteria that could drift over and colonize the vial of serum), and you have to cut them open with scissors (risking contamination if the scissors aren't completely sterilized by the alcohol wipe), I would lean towards doing as they recommend and only using each container once - that way if the vial gets contaminated, at least the bacteria introduced will have no time to multiply before she uses the serum.

      Add to all this the fact that they were prepared at no cost to her, why take the risk? Her eyes are already doing poorly, imagine how much more an eye infection would bother her compared to a normal person. Not worth the risk in my opinion.

      P.S. Since you have to cut open the vial with scissors, I'd consider purchasing a pair that you use exclusively for this purpose, and keep them in a very clean container between use. Also, for the alcohol wipe to be maximally effective as a disinfectant, allow the scissors to air dry naturally after you wipe them - this gives the alcohol time to evaporate slowly enough to kill any bacteria that may be present on the scissors (ie. don't wave the scissors around or fan them to make the alcohol dry faster... that will render the alcohol less effective as a disinfectant).
      Yet another post-Lasik (2005)...
      Anyone have a time machine so I can go back and undo this mess?


      • #4
        Soaps and SAAG,
        thanks for those responses. I think we will be careful and do as we have been instructed by the Red Cross. We will take note of what you said about letting the scissors dry before using them, SAAG.
        Soaps, I am not sure why we got so little from the Red Cross. I think Kathy had a 1/2 litre of blood drawn.


        • #5
          I live in Melbourne and I'm considering trying this treatment. How exactly do I go about getting the drops made?