23.01.2017

Los Angeles Doctor Fights To Eradicate Serious Eye Diseases In The Developing World

One Los Angeles-based doctor believes he can totally eradicate a serious eye infection from the face of the earth. And if you think this man can't do it, well, just consider the fact that he has already restored the eyesight of thousands of people in third-world countries.

This doctor's name is Sherwin J. Isenberg. He is best known for his work at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed). His most recent project for blindness prevention was featured prominently in a recent issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

In this article, Dr. Isenberg starts off by talking about his past accomplishments. Notably, Dr. Isenberg talks about tests he performed in the Philippines. It was here that Dr. Isenberg and his team discovered how the antiseptic povidone-iodine can work just as well as expensive antibiotics in halting the progression of bacterial keratitis.

For those who don't know, bacterial keratitis is a disease that infects the eye's cornea. If left untreated, this infection can cause sight impairment or complete blindness. Although this disease is rare in the industrialized world, bacterial keratitis is still quite common in developing countries.

These tests in the Philippines were done about 20 years ago and proved just how effective a povidone-iodine (now called "betadine") solution could be at preventing serious eye infections. When Dr. Isenberg and his fellow researchers returned to the USA, they were shocked at how unhygienic the Western practice of using a saline wash and the antibiotic argyol before eye surgery was in comparison to simply using betadine.

When Dr. Isenberg looked into the medical practices at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, he was surprised to discover that both argyol and saline were creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Dr. Isenberg said that he discovered the drugs UCLA was using were, "No better than nothing." In contrast to argyol and saline, Dr. Isenberg found that betadine was able to prevent three out of four common eye infections contracted during eye surgery.

Continuing to study the benefits of betadine, Dr. Isenberg traveled to Kenya and gave betadine drops to children at risk of developing an bacterial keratitis. Many Kenyan infants contract this serious eye infection through the birth canal. Dr. Isenberg found that his affordable eye drops work extremely well at preventing eye diseases in infants.

As if preventing bacterial keratitis wasn't enough for his resume, Dr. Isenberg now wants to eliminate another serious eye disease plaguing the developing world. He currently plans to travel to Ethiopia and study an eye disease known as trachoma.

Trachoma is a serious eye disease most commonly found in third-world countries. The disease mainly spreads through touching a person who is infected or through flies carrying the disease. Once the infection gets into a person's eyes, it forms scars and usually lead to complete blindness. There are currently around 1.9 million people suffering from trachoma around the world.

Isenberg believes his betadine solution can prevent trachoma from ever forming in an infant's eyes. He is now seeking $400,000 to fund his Ethiopian study and, hopefully, completely eradicate trachoma from this northeastern African nation.

Isenberg has been voted one of the best doctors in the nation and is one of Southern California's official "Super Doctors." He is currently affiliated with the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA.


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