A group of scientists from the UK’s University of Birmingham has developed a new eye drop that can minimize sight-threatening scarring to the surface of the eye or the cornea.
Scars caused by eye infection or trauma convert the usually transparent cornea into an opaque state, thereby leading to blurred vision or complete blindness.
Compared with existing standard of care for Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the newly developed eye drop can accelerate healing, reduce scarring as well as enhance corneal transparency within a few days of administration.
The existing treatment for eye infection includes administration of eye drops that feature antibiotics and corticosteroids to lower inflammation and then intensive lubrication to avoid further damage to the eye during blinking.
Despite sterilising the eye effectively, these treatments could result in visual ‘hazing’ due to scars on the cornea.
The new eye drop contains a fluid gel that comes with a natural wound-healing protein known as Decorin.
The team of scientists that developed the eye drop was led by University of Birmingham School of Chemical Engineering professor Liam Grover and the University’s Institute of Inflammation and Ageing professor Ann Logan.
Grover said: “The fluid gel is a novel material that can transition between a solid and liquid state.
“This means it contours itself to the surface of the eye, is retained there, and is only slowly removed by blinking.”
According to the researchers, the eye drop builds a protective barrier to safeguard the surface of the eye from further damage caused by blinking.
University of Birmingham Enterprise has patented the eye drop.