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Clinical trial investigates new eye drop therapy for pterygium

27/03/2019By Myles Hume
Australian researchers are trialling eye drops that could have the potential to replace current surgical methods to treat pterygium of the eye.

Lions Eye Institute (LEI) researchers have entered the recruitment phase to test a new drug, called AG-86893, on patients with pterygium. Also known as ‘surfer’s eye’, pterygium affects 270,500 Australians.

Pterygium is a fleshy growth on the surface of the eye caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors, including excessive exposure to sun, dust or wind. As it progresses, the condition can obscure the optical centre of the cornea, causing a visual impairment that requires surgery.

The LEI Clinical Trials team, led by ophthalmologist Dr Jean-Louis deSousa, in Western Australia will test whether the newly-developed eye drops can reduce eye redness associated with the condition, and its potential to replace surgery as a treatment option.

deSousa said Australia had one of the highest rates of pterygium in the world, affecting 1.1% of the population, and rising to 12% in men over the age of 60.

“We will be testing the potential of a medication called AG-86893, which is a reformulation of an existing drug called nintedanib, to reduce eye redness associated with pterygium with short-term use as well as reducing new blood vessel growth and fibrosis that may contribute to the growth of pterygium with longer-term use,” he said.

“We need Western Australians with pterygium to participate in this important trial.”

The SURPH (StUdy of the Response to AG-86893 in patients with Pterygium Hyperemia) Trial is recruiting participants in Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland until 31 May.


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