A natural chemical, called Lanosterol, has been identified that holds promise that one day cataracts could be dissolved with eye drops instead of surgery. It’s been tested on dogs but still has to pass the test of being successful in humans. But it’s promising.
tens of millions of people around the world and nearly 17.2% of Americans over the age of 40 have cataracts that are bad enough to cause blindness. These eyedrops would miraculously change the lives of millions of people around the globe who don’t have access to eye surgery to absolve them of blindness due to cataracts.
Scientists think the “fog” patients with cataracts describe is actually a glob of broken prokens – stuck together in a clump that fails to function in a normal way. The proteins are called crystallins and when functioning properly, help the eye’s lens keep its structure and transparency. But when clumped together, which usually comes with old age, they clump and cause a sheat-hlike obstruction in the lens. Hence, the description “steamy glass vision heard from those with untreated cataracts.
A team of scientist from UC, San Diego and molecular biologist Ling Zhao identified the protein when studying children. Those who have a genetically inherited type of cataracts were found to share a mutation that stopped the production of lanosterol. However, their parents did not have the same mutation and did not have cataracts.
Here’s the dilemma, researches are not yet sure why or what mechanism by which lanosterol causes the cataracts to shrink. Also, it’s unknown whether there’s a risk is using this natural chemical in a human’s eye.
But the good news is that this research continues as there’s millions of people whose lives would be changed for the best with eye drops to dissolve cataracts.