Everything You Need to Know About PROSE Treatment

Ocular surface disease is a term that encompasses a multitude of disease states, each with its own set of serious symptoms and potential complications. Patients with this kind of disease may experience breakdown of their corneal tissue, dry eyes, and other symptoms that put their vision at risk and degrade their quality of life. 

If you have been struggling with corneal or ocular surface disease that have not been adequately addressed by traditional methods, PROSE treatment may be the solution. In this article, we’ll delve into how PROSE treatment works and who it can benefit in more detail.

What is PROSE Treatment and How Does it Work?

PROSE stands for Prosthetic Replacement of the Ocular Surface Ecosystem. It is a medical treatment that uses a customized prosthetic device, a PROSE device, to heal the ocular surface and protect it from future tissue breakdown. 

PROSE devices are transparent domes that patients place in their eyes in the morning, wear throughout the day, and remove at bedtime. They are made of gas permeable plastic that allows oxygen to reach your eye’s surface. The devices are about the size of a nickel and rest on the sclera, the white part of your eye. The middle part of the lens jumps over the cornea without touching it. The empty space in between the back of the lens and the front of the eye is filled with a preservative-free saline that lubricates the cornea and creates a smooth surface over the diseased, damaged, or distorted ocular surface. By replacing the ocular surface ecosystem with an enclosed, lubricated ecosystem, PROSE devices protect the cornea, give the surface tissue time to heal, and provide patients with some much needed pain relief. 

What makes PROSE treatment so effective is the custom designed and fabricated device that protects the ocular surface. Using the latest technology, we can design a device that is customized to each individual’s eye.

How long is PROSE Treatment?

There are 2 phases of PROSE treatment. The acute treatment and the long term treatment. The acute phase of treatment is focused on the initial healing of the eye. The long term treatment is aimed at maintaining the ocular surface. The treatment length can vary based on the severity of the disease being treated. For most patients, the disease being treated is chronic, necessitating long term use of the PROSE device. In a minority of patients the disease that is being treated with PROSE is not chronic in nature and thus PROSE treatment is short and device wear will be discontinued after the ocular surface has healed. Our PROSE clinician, Dr. John Gelles, will decide when a satisfactory outcome has been achieved and if the patient can discontinue use of the PROSE lens or lenses. 

Who is PROSE Treatment For?

Patients with Ocular Surface Disease

Ocular surface disease is a broad catch-all term that is used to describe the collective of diseases that damage tissue on the surface of the eye. The source of these diseases can vary widely, from dry eye and ocular allergies to  systemic inflammation, immunologic disease, medications, radiation treatments, or previous ocular interventions or surgeries. Specific conditions that fall under this category include rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid eye disease, and dry eye induced by another autoimmune disease. Ocular surface disease can also be a result of chronic graft versus host disease (GVHD).

Patients with Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency

Ocular trauma like burns or acute intense immune system reactions can cause limbal stem cell deficiency. These conditions typically result in severe scarring to ocular mucous membranes and damage the cells that help a cornea to heal. Tissue scarring can lead to mechanical damage to the eye, as well. Conditions that fall under this category include Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis, mucous membrane pemphigoid, ocular cicatricial pemphigoid, or chemical or thermal burns. 

Patients with Exposure Keratitis

Impaired blink functions or incomplete closure of an eye leads to this kind of ocular surface disease. This can occur after certain surgeries, like blepharoplasty or lid repair, as a consequence of paralytic exposure, or as a result of lagophthalmos or anatomic lid malposition. In these cases, exposed tissue can experience severe localized dryness that eventually causes the cornea and ocular surface tissue to break down. 

Patients with Neurotrophic Keratitis

Neurotrophic keratitis causes reduced corneal nerve function, which results in a lack of corneal sensation. Without proper sensation, patients experience corneal damage and poor healing. Conditions that can lead to neurotrophic keratitis include herpes zoster (shingles), herpes simplex (ocular herpes), trigeminal nerve dysfunction, and familial dysautonomia, all of which can lead to corneal wounds that don’t heal. 

Can PROSE treatment help my vision?

Yes, PROSE treatment can not only help heal the eye but also improve vision. In ocular surface disease, the damaged tissue causes an irregular shape to the cornea which causes blurry vision. While wearing the PROSE device the irregular shape of the cornea is masked allowing for clearer vision. Additionally when tissue integrity is improved vision without the device may improve as well. However it must be said that some patients are purely wearing PROSE devices to heal the eye and reduce ocular pain, in many of these patient the lens surface may become damaged and the vision to be reduced, however the lens is doing its job, protecting the ocular surface tissue and taking the damage instead of the eye. PROSE device wear is not only used for patients with ocular surface disease, it can also be used for patients with Irregular Corneal Conditions. These conditions include keratoconus, keratoglobus, Terrien’s marginal degeneration, corneal ectasia after surgery, and pellucid marginal degeneration. 

PROSE Treatment Vs Scleral Lens

Unlike traditional scleral lenses, PROSE treatment is a comprehensive medical treatment for patients with complex ocular surface disease and corneal disease. Only ophthalmologists and optometrists who have completed a BostonSight PROSE Clinical Fellowship can perform PROSE treatment. PROSE treatment is ideal for patients with the most severe and complex cornea and ocular surface diseases. The difference between PROSE and scleral lenses is the additional medical care and the complex PROSE device customization.

Which treatment is right for you? PROSE treatment, scleral lenses, or wavefront guided scleral lenses? Our team of experts at CLEI will determine which is the best for your condition. Schedule an appointment today for an assessment.


Advancing research and treatments for corneal disease has always been at the heart of what we do here at CLEI. Our dedication to saving sight and improving quality of life for affected patients made forming the PROSE clinic at CLEI a natural choice. That’s why CLEI became part of the BostonSight PROSE treatment network. If your corneal disease or ocular surface disease is severe and complex, PROSE treatment may be a solution to your needs. 

We encourage you to schedule an appointment at our state of the art facilities for a thorough examination to determine if this is the right treatment to improve your quality of life.

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