SSI researchers develop new treatment for dry eye and blepharitis

Dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce enough of the right kind of tears to stay adequately lubricated, occuring with and exacerbating eyelid inflammation, known as blepharitis.

Dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce enough of the right kind of tears to stay adequately lubricated, occuring with and exacerbating eyelid inflammation, known as blepharitis.
Blepharitis is the most common ocular condition seen by eye care practitioners, present in nearly 50% of patients.

Red, painful, irritated and itchy eyes, along with blurred vision, result from blepharitis and dry eye. These symptoms worsen with air-conditioning, reading, computer work and television. Conjunctivitis and styes are complications and in the worst-case scenario, blindness may ensue following infectious keratitis or post-cataract surgery intraocular inflammation. 

Dry eye and blepharitis are a major financial and time burden to both the patient and the health care system. Despite the prevalence, no single treatment is available to address the underlying aspects of blepharitis. Current options address part of the problem, but are typically cumbersome (ie manual lid hygiene regimes), ineffective (ie lubricant eye drops) or expensive.

Researchers from Save Sight Institute have developed a new eye drop, which provides relief whilst uniquely addressing all underlying aspects of blepharitis.

Principle inventors Dr Kenneth Ooi and Clinical Professor Stephanie Watson recently conducted a clinical study with patients, finding that the new topical therapy clearly decreased signs and symptoms of blepharitis and dry eye.

According to Prof. Watson “Current treatments only address the symptoms of the condition, and can have significant side effects. This new eye drop treats both the causes and the symptoms of blepharitis, safely and with no steroid-related side effects.”

Dr Ooi points out that current approaches to treating blepharitis include a tedious eyelid hygiene routine which many patients, especially the elderly, find impossible to maintain.

“Artificial tear drops offer only temporary relief of symptoms” says Dr Ooi “and despite steroid orcyclosporine drops being available, they do not address the underlying condition, can cause numerous ocular side effects and in the case of cyclosporine, can be very expensive to manufacture”. 

The new eye drop decreases cholesterol production and down regulates pro-inflammatory cytokines, thereby improving tear film stability and reducing inflammation.

Conjunctivitis may also be decreased because bacteria could be deprived of a nutrient-rich cholesterol environment, and there is no steroid-associated intraocular pressure increase or cataract development.

There is also a faster onset of action compared with cyclosporine eyedrops.

The new eye drop is cost-effective to manufacture compared with other anti-inflammatory agents, and can be combined with lubricants, antibiotics and/or steroids to enhance the therapeutic impact.

The eye drop also has potential to treat conditions such as post- LASIK dry-eye, Sjogren’s syndrome, rosacea, atopic keratoconjunctivitis, ocular cicatricial pemphigoid and episcleritis. 

Watson and Ooi’s work has been selected for presentation at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) annual congress and was also selected as finalists in the UNSW Innovation Awards for therapy.

The new eye drop is not yet available to the public, as funding is currently being sought to complete dosing studies.

Dry Eye and Blepharitis: Patient Information Seminar

Dry Eye and Blepharitis affect almost 50% of patients, and are more common and increasingly severe as we get older.

Dry Eye and Blepharitis affect almost 50% of patients, and are more common and increasingly severe as we get older. There is currently no cure for dry eye (when a person does not produce enough of the right kind of tears), or for blepharitis (eyelid inflammation). These frustrating conditions are a considerable burden to patients and the health care system.
Researchers and clinicians at Save Sight Institute are working hard to find better ways of managing such eye problems, and two of its finest researchers are pleased to share their findings with patients and friends at this free information seminar.

Friday 29th November 2013
10am-12pm
Claffy Lecture Theatre, Sydney Eye Hospital, Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000

REGISTER HERE

CLINICAL PROFESSOR STEPHANIE WATSON

Dr Watson is a specialist in corneal surgery at the Sydney Eye Hospital, Sydney Children’s and Prince of Wales Hospital. She completed sub-speciality training at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London and was awarded a PhD for the development of a new dry eye therapy.

Dr Watson is also a leading stem cell researcher, her work acclaimed both internationally and nationally. Dr Watson’s research was recognised by the ABC’s New Inventors television programme, receiving both the episode and people’s choice awards, and the Less is More grand final award.

DOCTOR CON PETSOGLOU

Dr Petsoglou is a comprehensive ophthalmologist with expertise in the treatment of corneal and external eye disease conditions in adults and children.

Dr Petsoglou recently undertook a four year sabbatical at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, completing a Corneal and External Disease fellowship, performing over 3000 eye operations and advancing research into corneal disease. Dr Petsoglou was lead investigator in corneal trials of Avastin, an antibody that inhibits the grown of new blood vessels.

Volunteers sought for free eye test at SSI

We are currently in the process of updating our Visual Electrophysiology normative database, specifically for full field and pattern ElectroRetinoGram testing at Save Sight Institute.

We are currently in the process of updating our Visual Electrophysiology normative database, specifically for full field and pattern ElectroRetinoGram testing at Save Sight Institute. This is an objective measure of diffuse electrical responses generated by cells within the Retina. It is an important test for the identification and diagnosis of retinal pathologies. We are looking for visually normal volunteers to undergo this testing; the data collected at the time will contribute to our normative databases and will be a valuable dataset for future patient care and diagnosis. All personal information and test recordings will be kept confidential. If the results of the volunteers do not fall within already recognised normative standards, this will be disclosed at the time and further advice will be given as necessary.

It will take approximately two hours and does necessitate pupil dilation. This will be done using 1% tropicamide which can cause light sensitivity and blurred vision this can usually last 2 hours. The testing involves having electrodes placed on the face around the eyes and in the lower lid of each eye. You will then be exposed to a number of light flashes of varying intensities. The testing is not harmful in any way and is conducted in accordance with guidelines provided by the International Society for Clinical Electrophysiology of Vision (ISCEV). The testing is conducted at the Save Sight Institute on the grounds of Sydney Eye Hospital, 8 Macquarie Street. If you would like to participate please contact Kristy Francis kristy.francis@sydney.edu.eu