New Discovery In Preventive Treatment For Blindness

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Some people suffer from the loss of vision, which is a very important sense that humans have been blessed with. It is indeed appropriate to take good care of our eyes to prevent the likelihood of blindness. According to a UCSF research, a known treatment for a probable blinding eye infection is similarly effective when given every six months, as opposed to a yearly therapy. This is a randomized investigation about trachoma, which is the top-most cause of infection- caused blindness across the globe. This study can possibly give treatment to twice the number of patients, utilizing an equal amount of medication.

Dr. Bruce Gaynor, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Francis I. Proctor Foundation for Research in Ophthalmology, expressed the study’s idea of being able to do more with less. He added that they are maximizing the clinical benefits they can get from the medication, taking into consideration the cost and outcome of mass treatments.

Moreover, researchers performed a cluster-randomized trial with the use of azithromycin, an antibiotic, to treat trachoma in Ethiopia (having one of the highest trachoma’s prevalence globally). This was written in a paper published this month in The Lancet. The team included 24 communities and randomized the two treatment methods. The first treatment group was composed of 12 villages, that received azithromycin every six months, and the second included the other 12 that received the same antibiotic annually.

Gaynor elaborated that they discovered that trachoma’s prevalence is much elevated at baseline. Those who have this condition in these communities are about 40% to 50% of children. They have the highest vulnerability; furthermore, it can easily infect other persons through direct or indirect contact.

The study team monitored both groups and it was revealed that the infection prevalence declined significantly. Gaynor explained that the prevalence of trachoma decreased evidently from the notably high 40%; they even observed that in some villages, this condition was eradicated regardless of what treatment group they belong. Gaynor emphasized, “You can genuinely get same with less.”

The results of this study are very crucial, knowing that this disease can spread rapidly. Trachoma can be acquired by touching one’s eyes or nose after having a close contact with an infected person. Also, it can be transmitted by contact with an article of clothing or towel used by the individual who has the disease; this can spread too through flies.

It is indeed alarming that an estimated 41 million people in the world have been infected with trachoma; 8 million become blind due to the inaccessibility to therapy. To cure this disease, more than 150 million doses of azithromycin have been provided globally. This antibiotic is the one used because this is not resistant against the trachoma-causing bacteria, Chlamydia trachomatis.

This research gained support through the funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In conclusion, the primary findings from this study will be a pillar of hope for the populations in the world where trachoma remains to be a compelling concern, like in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and parts of Latin America and Australia. Dr. Gaynor further stated that they will now be capable of reaching out to more people and treat twice the number of people as before. Indeed, this can be an enormous contribution to slow down the incidences of trachoma-related blindness in the world.




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