Imagine if it were this easy to cure cataracts 17



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Cataracts affect tens of millions of people around the world and, presently, the only treatment is surgery. However, a promising new trial on dogs could take a lot of the pain and time out of curing the leading cause of blindness.

A Chinese research team investigated a naturally-occurring molecule called lanosterol, which they suspected might impede cataract-forming proteins from clumping in normal eyes.

After testing the molecule on cells, they moved on to animal trials using dogs with naturally-occurring cataracts.

After six weeks of treatment, the size and characteristic cloudiness of the eye growths had decreased, the researchers reported.

“Our study identifies lanosterol as a key molecule in the prevention of lens protein aggregation and points to a novel strategy for cataract prevention and treatment,” the researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou reported in Nature.

Cataracts form when the eye’s lens grows cloudy, a condition that affects millions of people and accounts for more than half of all cases of blindness worldwide. As the population ages predictions are that the number of cataract surgeries in the next 20 years will double.

While current cataract surgery is straightforward and very effective, it can be cost prohibitive for many people, particularly in developing nations.

The hope with this treatment is that the sight-restoring molecule it could be administered via simple eye drops, which would greatly improve outcomes around the world.

In an accompanying commentary in Nature, J Fielding Hejtmancik, a scientist at the US National Eye Institute cautioned that the findings were “very preliminary”.

“Before there are any human trials, the scientists will probably test other molecules to see if they might work even better,” he said.

 Have you or someone you love experienced cataracts? Does it run in your family? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I had to have cataract surgery when I was in my early 40’s and now they are back again. This would be wonderful. I could see clearly again – possibly even drive again.

  2. Daughter had both eyes done early last year(36) and is revelling in being able to read all fine print but this sounds a lot less traumatic.

  3. Had mine done 3000 per eye would be nearly blind if I had no money we need to give everyone a chance

    1 REPLY
    • Thats because Julia cut the Medicare funding , thought pensioners were millionaires. It is a pttance compared to what it was. Most out of pocket a couple of thousand.

  4. Need one eye done, but not yet. Everyone I know who have had it done say you see the dirt you never knew was there after surgery. When I do have it done I will probably see all the mistakes in my art also.

    1 REPLY
    • Re. art work, I find I go into too much detail with my paintings, so now I feel encouraged, perhaps my paintings will become impressionist style as I have a cateract forming in one eye. My next appointment with the eye specialist is in 3 years, then I suppose he’ll say to have the op. Perhaps the eye-drop treatment will be approved for use by then, fingers crossed.

  5. Had mine done 3 years ago ,had my eyes tested y,day and hardly altered ,do have to wear them for reading ,in a good light I don’t . A wonderful technology .

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