Stephanie Watson and Kenneth Ooi Ooi

Stephanie Watson and Kenneth Ooi Ooi

News Release: 3rd November 2012

Researchers at Save Sight Institute, a centre of the University of Sydney, have developed an eye drop which uniquely addresses all underlying aspects of blepharitis, an inflammatory eye condition found in 40% of routine eye consultations. In the US alone it is estimated that 7.1 million people over the age of 40 suffer from dry eye, most experiencing ongoing irritation and pain.

Principle inventors Dr Kenneth Ooi and Clinical Professor Stephanie Watson conducted a four-week clinical study with ten patients, finding that the topical therapy clearly decreased signs and symptoms of blepharitis. Now available for licensing, a provisional patent has been filed by Sydnovate, the commercialization arm of the University of Sydney.

According to Prof. Watson "Current treatments only address the symptoms of the condition, and can have significant side effects. Based on atorvastatin, this new eye drop treats both the causes and the symptoms of blepharitis, safely and with no steroid-related side effects."

Dr Ooi points out that current approaches to treating blepharitis include a tedious eye lid hygiene routine which many patients, especially the elderly, find impossible to maintain. "Artificial tear drops offer only temporary relief of symptoms" says Dr Ooi "and despite steroid or cyclosporine drops being available, they do not address the underlying condition ,can cause numerous ocular side effects and can be expensive to manufacture in the case of cyclosporine."

This new statin eye drop decreases cholesterol production and down regulates pro-inflammatory cytokines thereby improving tear film stability and reducing inflammation and dry eye. Conjunctivitis may also be decreased because bacteria could be deprived of a nutrient-rich cholesterol environment, and there is no steroid-associated intraocular pressure increase or cataract development. There is also a faster onset of action compared with cyclosporine eyedrops.

Offering pharmaceutical companies a number of advantages, this eye drop is cost-effective to manufacture compared with other anti-inflammatory agents, and can be combined with lubricants, antibiotics and/or steroids to enhance the therapeutic impact. The eye drop also has potential to treat other conditions such as post-LASIK dry-eye, Sjogren’s syndrome, rosacea, atopic keratoconjunctivitis, ocular cicatricial pemphigoid and episcleritis.

Parties interested in licensing this novel treatment for blepharitis and dry-eye should contact Lauri Olivier from Sydnovate on (02) 9036 9640 or .

Exclusive photographs and additional interviews with the researchers can be arranged upon request.
Please contact Renee O'Kane from Save Sight Institute on 0404 452 698 or .


An eye with blepharitis. There is chronic inflammation, crusting of the eyelid and conjunctival injection (red eye)