UCL Institute of Ophthalmology


Alcohol abuse drug can be repurposed to treat a blinding disorder

16 August 2016

New research from University College London, Moorfields Eye Hospital and Duke University School of Medicine has identified a gene that drives scarring, together with a rapidly translatable therapy, for the UK’s most common cause of blinding conjunctivitis.

The study, funded by Fight for Sight, UCL Business, and Moorfields Eye Charity, has resulted in two articles which were published in this month's issue of the Journal for Insight.

Scarring conjunctivitis is often caused by mucous membrane pemphigoid and is a major cause of chronic pain and sight loss. Current treatment methods are not fully effective with one in five patients still going blind:

  • Mucous membrane pemphigoid is a severe autoimmune disorder in which the skin and mucous membranes blister and scar.
  • OMMP affects an estimated 1 in 1 million people. Women and men are equally affected.
  • Conjunctival scarring can also be caused by other conditions including Stevens-Johnsonsyndrome, trachoma and atopic keratoconjunctivitis.

Read the articles in full via Journal for Insight here (subscription required)