Scientists at the University of Liverpool are analyzing whether an antidote used to cure venomous snakebites could help treat microbial keratitis. This new antidote could provide doctors with a safer and more effective treatment for keratitis.
Professors were inspired to perform this research after discovering one prominent keratitis bacterial strain tended to give off toxins similar to those found in snake venom. The bacterium scientists observed was involved in one-third of keratitis cases.
Investigators are now developing antidotes that can be safely delivered into keratitis patients’ eyes. They hope these new anti-phospholipase drops will significantly reduce eye cell damage in patients with microbial keratitis.
Today, the standard course of treatment for keratitis is a round of antibiotics. Unfortunately, antibiotics don’t have a 100 percent success rate. Doctors are also wary of overusing antibiotics because many bacterial strains are now becoming resistant.
The charity group Fight for Sight is a major donor behind this antidote study. Executives at Fight for Sight claim these antidote eye drops could potentially be used to cure many other eye diseases besides keratitis.
Bacterial keratitis refers to an eye infection that causes a corneal inflammation. If left untreated, keratitis can cause permanent sight loss. Depending on the severity of the disease, doctors may have to use antibiotics, antifungals, or perform a corneal replacement surgery.
Contact lens wearers are at a higher risk of developing keratitis than the general population. The bacteria that cause this eye disease are often found in water, so it’s important for anyone wearing contacts to take their lenses out before swimming or showering.
Fight for Sight is headquartered on 18 Mansell Street in London near the Aldgate East metro stop. Anyone can follow Fight for Sight’s research projects on the group’s website or on social media pages like Facebook and Twitter.