Non-antibiotic antimicrobial agents for microbial keratitis

Research details

  • Type of funding: Project Grant
  • Grant Holder: Professor Stephen Kaye
  • Institute: University of Liverpool
  • Region: North West
  • Start date: October 2018
  • End Date: February 2022
  • Priority: Treatment
  • Eye Category: Corneal & external

Microbial keratitis is an infection on the cornea, which is the clear window on the front of the eye. It can be a serious condition if not treated and can sometimes cause sight loss even with the correct treatment. This condition is associated with severe pain, photophobia and blurred vision.

There are many causative organisms which are responsible for microbial keratitis. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a bacteria that, accounts for a significant proportion of cases of microbial keratitis and contact lens associated infections. The bacteria produces toxins that are similar to those present in snake venom or bee stings.

Researchers aim to uncover new molecules which can act as an alternative treatment for microbial keratitis by investigating whether compounds known as anti-phospholipase agents, used to treat snake venom and bee stings, could provide an alternative to antibiotics in treating eye infection, as well as designing new agents.

If successful these agents will be delivered topically to the eye in conjunction with other antimicrobials in cases of microbial keratitis.