Infectious keratitis of the eye is induced by proliferation and penetration of microorganisms in the cornea. The possibility of developing a novel treatment for this condition based on the action of a low temperature, atmospheric pressure plasma is presented. In-vitro results show that bacteria and fungi responsible of keratitis are inactivated by the exposure to the afterglow of a RF plasma produced in a helium flow mixed with ambient air. On the contrary, the viability of corneal cells is not significantly affected. Furthermore, no DNA damage has been detected in the treated cells, suggesting that no long time effects might be induced by this kind of treatment. An increase of intracellular Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) has been measured following the treatment, suggesting that these chemicals can be involved in the plasma-induced effects. Overall, the presented results point to the feasibility of a plasma-based treatment for infectious keratitis. © 2013 Elsevier GmbH.
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