Scientists have developed a new method to clear antibiotic resistant bacteria from the surface of the eye – introducing a new strain of bacteria that preys on other microorganisms. The research is being presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) this week in Baltimore, Md.
Experiments on rabbit eyes compared the ability of predatory bacteria and vancomycin, an antibiotic, to treat an infection of multi-drug resistant P. aeruginosa. The predatory bacteria proved superior to vancomycin in terms of time-to-bacterial clearing, wound healing inhibition and toxicity. The researchers noted a remarkable inhibition of wound healing by vancomycin, whereas predatory bacteria did not alter wound healing.
The increasing spread of antibiotic resistant microorganisms is a global health problem. Multi-drug resistant P. aeruginosa, which is spread by contact with a contaminated surface or water, can cause severe illness and death in people in the hospital and/or with weakened immune systems. It can cause eye infections in healthy people using extended-wear contact lenses. Vancomycin is used to treat MRSA infections.