A new drug, Cacicol, is helping patients of eye surgery heal much faster than normal, in some cases in as little as two days from the time of surgery. The medicine could theoretically help millions of patients who have undergone corneal transplants, or refractive surgeries, such as LASIK. Shorter healing times allow for less discomfort and lowered risk for infection.
Dr. Koray Gumus, M.D., associate professor of ophthalmology at Erciyes University School of Medicine in Turkey said “Faster healing is clinically important because that helps reduce the risk of complications after surgery.”
Initially, Cacicol was developed to treat skin wounds in diabetes patients. Because collagen is found both in the skin and the surface of the eye, tests were done to see if the drug could also help with healing eye wounds.
For the purposed of this study, 60 patients were chosen who had undergone surgery to treat a very specific eye condition, keratoconus, which causes the cornea to bulge. This affects the eyes’ ability to accurately refract light, resulting in blurred vision. Half of the patients were treated with eye drops containing the new drug, and all 60 were then monitored for 3 days following the surgery.
Researchers found that on the second day, more than 80% of patients treated with Cacicol had healed significantly more than those who went untreated. The patients also experienced less pain, discomfort, tearing, and sensitivity to light.
Current research is underway testing the effectiveness of Cacicol on other types of eye injuries, including corneal ulcers.