New Drug Offers Hope for Contact Lens Infection Treatment: Study Results

A new study published in Ophthalmology suggests a promising new drug may be effective in treating a particularly sight-threatening contact lens infection, offering a potentially significant breakthrough in eye care.

Contact lens wearers face a higher risk of developing serious eye infections, including Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK), a rare but potentially devastating infection caused by a free-living amoeba. AK can lead to corneal scarring and even vision loss if not treated promptly and effectively.

Current Treatment Limitations:

Current treatment options for AK are limited and often involve prolonged courses of medication with potential side effects. Additionally, existing treatments may not be entirely effective, leading to treatment failures and the need for corneal transplantation in severe cases.

Promising New Drug:

The new study investigated the effectiveness of a combination of polihexanide (PHMB) and propamidine in treating AK. Researchers compared this new treatment to the currently used standard PHMB alone and found promising results:

  • 86.6% medical cure rate: The combination treatment achieved a significantly higher medical cure rate within 12 months compared to PHMB alone (84.9%).
  • Similar secondary outcomes: Both treatment groups had similar secondary outcomes, including median best-corrected visual acuity and overall treatment failure rate.
  • No serious adverse events: The new combination therapy was well-tolerated with no reported serious drug-related adverse events.

Expert Insights:

Lead author John K.G. Dart, D.M., from Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, expressed optimism about the study’s findings, stating: “We hope that our new robust findings with polihexanide 0.08 percent will be a game changer for AK treatment, by improving access and the consistency of treatment, addressing currently unmet patient needs.”

Further Research and Future Implications:

While the study provides encouraging evidence for the effectiveness of the new combination therapy, further research is needed to confirm the results and establish its long-term safety and efficacy. Nevertheless, these findings offer a promising step forward in the fight against contact lens-related infections and hold significant potential for improving patient outcomes.


  1. What are contact lenses?
    Contact lenses are thin, transparent lenses placed directly on the cornea of the eye to correct vision. They offer an alternative to glasses and can provide various benefits, including improved peripheral vision, a wider field of view, and a more natural appearance.
  2. What are the different types of contact lenses?
    There are several types of contact lenses available, each with its own unique characteristics:
    Soft contact lenses: These are the most common type, made from flexible materials for comfort and ease of wear. They come in daily disposable, weekly disposable, monthly disposable, and extended wear options.
    Rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses: These are made from a firmer material that allows more oxygen to reach the cornea. While they may take longer to adapt to, they offer sharper vision and better durability than soft lenses.
    Hybrid lenses: These combine the central portion of a rigid lens with the soft outer edge of a soft lens, providing a balance of comfort and vision correction.
    Toric lenses: These are designed for people with astigmatism, a condition causing blurry vision at all distances. They have a special shape that corrects the irregular curvature of the cornea.
    Multifocal lenses: These lenses help people with presbyopia, a condition causing difficulty focusing on close objects as they age. They have different zones for near, intermediate, and far vision.
  3. How do I choose the right contact lenses?
    The best type of contact lens for you depends on several factors, including your vision needs, eye health, lifestyle, and budget. It’s important to consult with an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam and discuss the different options available.
  4. How do I care for contact lenses?
    Proper contact lens care is crucial for maintaining good eye health and preventing infections. This includes:
    Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling your lenses.
    Using fresh cleaning solution each day.
    Storing your lenses in the appropriate case with fresh solution.
    Replacing your lenses according to the prescribed schedule.
  5. What are the risks of wearing contact lenses?
    While contact lenses offer numerous benefits, there are also potential risks involved, including
    Eye infections: Improper lens care or overuse can increase the risk of eye infections, such as keratitis and conjunctivitis.
    Corneal damage: Contact lenses can irritate or scratch the cornea, potentially leading to vision problems.
    Dry eyes: Contact lenses can exacerbate dry eye symptoms, causing discomfort and irritation.
    Allergic reactions: Some people may experience allergic reactions to contact lens materials or solutions.
  6. How can I reduce the risk of contact lens problems?
    By following proper lens care practices, maintaining good hygiene, and scheduling regular eye exams, you can significantly reduce the risk of contact lens-related problems.
  7. Can I sleep with my contact lenses in?
    It is generally not recommended to sleep with your contact lenses in, as it increases the risk of eye infections. However, certain types of extended-wear lenses are approved for overnight wear. Always consult your eye doctor before sleeping in your contact lenses.
  8. Where can I buy contact lenses?
    Contact lenses can be purchased from eye doctors, opticians, and online retailers. It’s important to only purchase lenses from reputable sources and obtain a valid prescription from your eye doctor.
  9. How much do contact lenses cost?
    The cost of contact lenses varies depending on the type, brand, and material. Daily disposable lenses are typically the most expensive, while monthly disposable lenses are more affordable. You may also incur additional costs for cleaning solutions, cases, and eye exams.
  10. Are contact lenses covered by insurance?
    Some vision insurance plans may offer partial or full coverage for contact lenses and related costs. Contact your insurance provider to understand your specific coverage details.
  11. Can children wear contact lenses?
    Yes, children can safely wear contact lenses with proper supervision and guidance from an eye doctor.
  12. What if I lose a contact lens?
    If you lose a contact lens, it’s important to remove the remaining lens and consult your eye doctor as soon as possible. Do not wear a spare lens in the same eye until you have been examined.
  13. Can I wear contact lenses if I have dry eyes?
    There are specific types of contact lenses designed for people with dry eyes. These lenses may be made from special materials that retain moisture or have a coating to reduce friction. Consult your eye doctor to discuss options suitable for dry eyes.
  14. Can I wear contact lenses if I have allergies?
    Certain contact lens materials may trigger allergies

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