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Single dose of azithromycin prevents recurrence of inturned eyelashes

A Johns Hopkins Medicine study finds that a single dose of the oral antibiotic azithromycin taken after trichiasis eye surgery can reduce the frequency with which eyelashes turn back in and abrade the eye. The oral antibiotic treatment is more effective than multiple days of treatment with the topical antibiotic ointment Tetracycline, the current method of treatment after trichiasis surgery.

Trichiasis is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide. It is a condition in which the eyelid turns inward and the eyelashes rub against the eye, causing corneal scarring, that can lead to blindness. It results from years of repeated episodes of trachoma, an ocular bacterial infection that is very common in rural areas of developing countries.

The bacteria that cause trachoma are suspected to be spread by contact with hands or clothing of infected individuals. Flies may also transfer the infection from one person to another. Because trachoma is transmitted through close personal contact, it tends to occur in clusters, often infecting entire families and a large majority of people in a given community. The disease usually remains hidden in rural areas of developing countries where people live in overcrowded conditions with limited access to water and health care.

Trichiasis can be corrected by appropriate lid surgery, which returns the inturned eyelashes to their normal position. However, even under the best of circumstances the eyelashes may turn back in (between 16 percent and 50 percent within a few years after surgery). That's why this new Johns Hopkins research is so valuable, says lead researcher Sheila West, Ph.D., of the Dana Center for Preventative Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins Medicine. In the current study, less than 10 percent of people had their eyelid turn in again within one year after surgery.

In the study, published in the March 2006 issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, the research team found that a sing
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Contact: John M. Lazarou
Jlazaro1@jhmi.edu
410-502-8902
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
13-Mar-2006


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