Research into corneal and external eye diseases
We’re funding research to help better diagnose and treat a range of diseases related to the front of the eye, because we believe that people’s sight matters.
The front of the eye consists of the cornea, the clear outer layer which covers the surface of the eye, and the sclera, the tough ‘white’ of our eyes.
It’s exposed to the outside world, and so is susceptible to a range of conditions including infections, reactions and dystrophies, all of which can lead to sight loss.
Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK)
Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) is an infection of the cornea, caused by a microscopic organism usually found in bodies of water such as rivers, swimming pools or tap water.
It is very rare, extremely painful, and can cause permanent visual impairment or even blindness.
Around 85 per cent of AK cases are associated with contact lens wear
AK affects just 125 people a year in the UK
Little is known about this condition and it can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are similar to other microbial corneal infections.
Symptoms and Treatments
Some diseases of the front of the eye are relatively mild, but others can lead to significant sight loss.
Treatments for Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK)
There are currently no medicines licensed specifically to treat AK.
It is also particularly difficult to treat because it is resistant to many forms of traditional therapy such as antibiotics.