Scientists Have Developed Eye Drop That Can Melt Away Cataracts
Recent discovery by a group of scientists from California found out that the naturally occurring steroid lanosterol is able to melt away cataracts and prevent them from returning when administered to patients via eye drops.
If it passes all the tests for its approval, this compound will be available as a non-invasive treatment for people with have moderate forms of cataracts.
The main reason for this research to start in a first place was because of a case in China where two children who had a hereditary form of the condition. These two children shared a mutation that blocked the production of the steroid lanosterol, Science Alert reported.
What exactly happened, their parents lacked this mutation and because of that, they never went on to develop cataracts.
When the team of scientist examined this situation, they determined that the steroid must play a role in the formation of cataracts.
After a series of experiments which are now outlined and published in Nature, the test that was proceeded on live rabbits and donated human lenses showed that the lanosterol can significantly shrink the cataract size.
Cataracts occur when a protein in the lens builds up and prevents light from getting through. This condition can be passed by hereditary or is a more likely case to be developed in an older age.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide and the leading cause of vision loss in the U.S. Currently, the only treatment available for cataracts is surgically removing the clouded lens from the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens.
However, is not entirely clear on how exactly lanosterol is working, but the research suggested that the steroid prevents the proteins from building up.
Tech Times announced that if the drops prove to also work on humans, they could offer a non-invasive treatment for individuals with mild to moderate cataracts and serve as a way to prevent the condition from ever returning.
Even though the cataract surgery can be placed in the easy and safe surgeries, this way it will be even more.
There are 50 million Americans estimated to be afflicted by the condition by the year 2050.
Jonathan King, a molecular biologist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told Armitage that this study even though is not ready, it’s very promising.
They discovered the phenomena and then followed with all of the experiments that you should do that’s as biologically relevant as you can get, King explained.
Zhao L, Chen X, Zhu J. Lanosterol reverses protein aggregation in cataracts. Nature. 2015