A new study published in the March 2006 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology says that a single dose of azithromycin taken orally reduced the risk of relapse of a vision-threatening eyelid condition called trichiasis. This conclusion was arrived at after the end of a clinical trial funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
It was found that azithromycin was better than the local application of tetracycline ointment which has to be continued for at lest 6 weeks. "This study illustrates the importance of NIH clinical trials to find treatments for diseases that affect people throughout the world," said Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., director of the NIH. "When we consider that an estimated 11 million people worldwide develop trichiasis every year, we see the impact that the findings of this study may have in preventing future vision loss." In Trichiasis, the eyelid turns inward and causes corneal scarring, which results in loss of vision or blindness. It is caused by trachoma, which is a preventable infection of the eye. "This clinical trial was relatively inexpensive to conduct, and produced results that may well save the vision of millions of people," said Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., director of vision research at NIH. "We look forward to supporting future trials to treat blinding eye diseases worldwide."
For more information, visit www.nei.nih.gov.