Eight commercial topical anaesthetic preparations were tested for their ability to inhibit microbial growth in vitro by incubating serial dilutions with each of 4 micro-organisms. In addition corneas of mice were infected with Staphylococcus aureus, and the effect of the anaesthetics on isolation rates of bacteria was investigated. The preparations were shown to have a wide range of antimicrobial activity, correlating both with the active agents and the preservatives. We suggest that some preparations are unsuitable for use prior to collection of specimens from human corneal ulcers.
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