Health x Wellness

An Eye Drop That Can Dissolve Cataracts?

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Researchers have developed a new drug that can be delivered via an eye dropper to shrink down and dissolve cataracts.

Although the effects have yet to be tested on humans, the team from the University of California, San Diego, USA, hopes to replicate the findings in clinical trials and offer an alternative to expensive eye surgery.

Cataracts occurs when the structure of the crystallin proteins that make up the lens in our eyes deteriorate, causing the damaged proteins to clump and form a milky layer, thus affecting one’s sight. Most cases of cataracts are age related, with the US National Eye Institute reporting that by the age of 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract, or have had cataract surgery. Cataracts is the leading cause of blindness in humans.

The new drug that has been developed is based on a naturally-occurring steroid called lanosterol, and the lanosterol-based eye drops were tested in three types of experiments. The developers first worked with human lens in the lab, saw a decrease in cataract size and subsequently tested it on rabbits. Finally, they tested the eye drops on dogs with naturally occurring cataracts, and the dogs also responded positively to the drug, with severe cataracts shrinking away to nothing, or almost nothing.

The team’s findings were published in the journal Nature.




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