For the past four years, Mahnia Madan, OD, FAAO, has been working with her patients to find dry eye relief through custom plasma-rich platelet (PRP) eye drops. It’s a specialized treatment plan that she’s fine-tuned to alleviate many symptoms in her patient base, and patients often start to see notice improvement in their symptoms in 7-10 days.
As her success grew, Dr. Madan wanted the opportunity to touch more patients’ lives with this treatment. She saw that other practitioners were curious, as well, from sharing her clinical experiences on social media and with colleagues in the profession. “I had very good results with my own patients, and I ventured into doing more research and learning more so I could bring this to other practitioners,” Dr. Madan says.
PRP is not new to the field of science, and the regenerative properties within platelets and blood have been seen in dentistry, dermatology, orthopedics and more for many years. “We see evidence in so many studies that this works,” Dr. Madan says. She adds that she’s read research dating back as early as 1975 where patients were told to cut their fingers and put blood in their eye to help with dry eye.
The process is much more refined today in her office, as she has developed an efficient and consistent way for patients to take home personalized PRP eye drops. “We’ve come a long way from putting blood in your eyes, but that’s how it was discovered that properties of platelets contain thousands of molecules that are growth factors to help with healing of the ocular surface,” Dr. Madan says. “I was fortunate that the knowledge and science was under my belt, and I learned how to build this product into a practice on the business side and where it fits in with patient care on the clinical side.”
TAKING SUCCESS FROM OFFICE TO MARKET
Dr. Madan didn’t have a business background coming into this venture, but she was determined to let her passion for the project bring it forward. It took about a year to get all the pieces aligned to launch MYEdrop, Personalized PRP Therapy, and one of Dr. Madan’s top priorities was making sure the product quality was protected as they went to market. Dr. Madan and her team had to analyze the plan complete with packaging, training and marketing, as well as think ahead to be prepared to answer any questions they could receive.
Dr. Madan worked closely with Kim Connolly, MLT, to make sure their plan was just right. Connolly helped her launch PRP treatment in her own offices, going through many processes and trials together to find the best way to safely transfer platelets to a good consistency and in a viable way. Connolly came to work with Dr. Madan from a phlebotomy background with 30 years of experience working as a registered medical laboratory technologist and 16 years working with platelets in the field of regenerative medicine. Dr. Madan is proud to share that the entire company is a women-run business.
They considered the best way to launch the product—from joining forces with an existing industry company or going on their own—and they chose the latter to keep costs down for clinicians wanting to bring this service into their practice. “I didn’t want to lose the mom-and-pop feel to it, and at the core of this is clinical care and touching patients’ lives with these options. That was important to me. The dry eye field is expanding, and we need newer tools in our toolbox. Having another natural treatment is so valuable from a doctor- and patient-standpoint; it sets you apart and builds the business.”
The final created package for doctors to implement includes instructions on the blood drawing, processing and dispensing, as well as consent forms, patient instructions and more. “We are able to give them this whole system that we’ve learned and developed over the past four years,” Dr. Madan says.
IS PRP RIGHT FOR YOUR PRACTICE?
Dr. Madan says that there’s a common misconception that you must have advanced dry eye sufferers as patients to implement this system, yet it is a great solution for even less traumatic symptoms. “PRP offers natural treatment with no side effects, and some patients prefer this earlier on than later,” she explains. In fact, many patients have often heard of PRP from other areas of medicine. “They get excited when they know their doctor is thinking outside of just medication and taking a whole-body approach.”
PRP is a minimal initial investment for ODs, it doesn’t take up a lot of space and you don’t need fancy equipment to implement. Dr. Madan does recommend hiring a nurse or medical technician who is trained for drawing blood, or to designate an existing staff member who will be trained on the universal guidelines on handling and drawing blood. Check your state laws as well, Dr. Madan advises, as not every state allows ODs to do blood draws.
Dr. Madan chose to hire a medical technologist instead of putting the responsibility on an existing team member. “It may be worth bringing someone in once a week a couple of times per month, and then you can line up patients to come in that day.” Each appointment takes about an hour to draw the blood and process the eyedrops for the patients to take home that same day. Patients are often quite excited to be able to immediately take home their personalized treatment plan. Patients return in six to eight weeks for their follow-up in the office.
“For optometry, a field with needles and blood, it can be daunting to think about this in your clinic,” Dr. Madan says. “Or you may wonder, ‘Will I have the right patients for this?’ That can be said for any field we want to advance in like myopia control or orthokeratology when we think about getting started. I promise once you start to learn about PRP, it’s very exciting and cool—and we can do it.”
MYEdrop officially launched to market in October 2022. “I hope some doctors can try it for their patients and that the product will speak for itself,” Dr. Madan says. “It’s been fun to have so much support as we get started.”
For more information, visit the MYEdrop website or connect with Dr. Madan on Instagram.