Nav: Home

Researchers find a better way to save eyesight in third-world countries

November 14, 2016

LOS ANGELES - Bacterial keratitis, an infection of the cornea often caused by contact lenses, malnutrition, or an injury, can lead to corneal scarring, one of the leading causes of blindness around the globe, according to the World Health Organization. It has blinded more than 400,000 children worldwide.

Antibiotic drops can save a patient's eyesight by effectively treating these infections before the cornea is scarred. But the antibiotic drops are expensive and often unavailable in third-world countries. Dr. Sherwin Isenberg, MD, an LA BioMed researcher, said the lack of access to effective treatments is one of the reasons for higher rates of blindness in the developing world.

Dr. Isenberg has spent nearly three decades studying the use of a low-cost, easily accessible eye drop for preventing and treating eye disease and recently published a new study in the American Journal of Ophthalmology (online edition initially) that reports that these drops are just as effective as antibiotics in treating bacterial keratitis.

The researchers found the low-cost eye drops, povidone-iodine 1.25% ophthalmic solution, were as effective for the treatment of bacterial keratitis as two antibiotics, neomycin-polymyxin B-gramicidin and ciprofloxacin 0.3%, in areas of the world where the use of effective topical antibiotics may not be an option.

"In many developing nations, these antibiotics are often used for the successful treatment of bacterial keratitis but they're often too expensive for those patients," said Dr. Isenberg. "Povidone-iodine solutions are available worldwide and can be prepared locally from stock solutions or powders, so these eye drops cost just pennies per treatment."

Dr. Isenberg, Dr. Gary Holland, the late Dr. Leonard Apt, Madeline Del Signore, R.N. and researchers in India and the Philippines randomized 172 patients who had bacterial keratitis infections and treated half with antibiotics and the other half with the povidone-iodine solution.The researchers found the povidone-iodine solution was as successful in curing the infection as were the two antibiotics.

Dr. Isenberg had previously studied the use of povidone-iodine to prevent eye disease in newborns, and found that it was either more effective or as effective as the more expensive treatments. Other studies found the low-cost eye drops were as effective or more effective than antibiotics in treating bacterial and chlamydial conjunctivitis.

The World Health Organization estimates that 285 million people worldwide are blind or visually impaired, and 90% of them live in "low-income settlings. It also estimates that 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured.

"The use of these low-cost eye drops has already saved the sight of thousands of infants by preventing eye infections that could have caused them to go blind," said Dr. Isenberg. "Now we are finding that we can use these same drops to treat infections that can cause blindness. By proving the effectiveness of these treatments, we hope to prevent blindness in millions of children and adults who suffer from eye infections."
-end-
About LA BioMed

Founded in 1952, LA BioMed is one of the country's leading nonprofit independent biomedical research institutes. It has approximately 100 principal researchers conducting studies into improved treatments and therapies for cancer, inherited diseases, infectious diseases, illnesses caused by environmental factors and more. It also educates young scientists and provides community services, including prenatal counseling and childhood nutrition programs. LA BioMed is academically affiliated with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and located on the campus of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. For more information, please visit http://www.LABioMed.org

LA BioMed

Related Antibiotics Articles:

Benefits, risks seen with antibiotics-first for appendicitis
Antibiotics are a good choice for some patients with appendicitis but not all, according to study results published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
How antibiotics interact
Understanding bottleneck effects in the translation of bacterial proteins can lead to a more effective combination of antibiotics / study in 'Nature Communications'
Are antivitamins the new antibiotics?
Antibiotics are among the most important discoveries of modern medicine and have saved millions of lives since the discovery of penicillin almost 100 years ago.
Hygiene reduces the need for antibiotics by up to 30%
A new paper published in the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), finds improved everyday hygiene practices, such as hand-washing, reduces the risk of common infections by up to 50%, reducing the need for antibiotics, by up to 30%.
Antibiotics: City dwellers and children take the most
City dwellers take more antibiotics than people in rural areas; children and the elderly use them more often than middle-aged people; the use of antibiotics decreases as education increases, but only in rich countries: These are three of the more striking trends identified by researchers of the NRW Forschungskolleg ''One Health and Urban Transformation'' at the University of Bonn.
Metals could be the link to new antibiotics
Compounds containing metals could hold the key to the next generation of antibiotics to combat the growing threat of global antibiotic resistance.
Antibiotics from the sea
The team led by Prof. Christian Jogler of Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, has succeeded in cultivating several dozen marine bacteria in the laboratory -- bacteria that had previously been paid little attention.
Antibiotics not necessary for most toothaches, according to new ADA guideline
The American Dental Association (ADA) announced today a new guideline indicating that in most cases, antibiotics are not recommended for toothaches.
Antibiotics with novel mechanism of action discovered
Many life-threatening bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics.
Resistance can spread even without the use of antibiotics
Antibiotic resistance does not spread only where and when antibiotics are used in large quantities, ETH researchers conclude from laboratory experiments.
More Antibiotics News and Antibiotics Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: The Power Of Spaces
How do spaces shape the human experience? In what ways do our rooms, homes, and buildings give us meaning and purpose? This hour, TED speakers explore the power of the spaces we make and inhabit. Guests include architect Michael Murphy, musician David Byrne, artist Es Devlin, and architect Siamak Hariri.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.