A study in 2015 has discovered a compound that can be converted into eye drops and cure cataracts.
A cataract is one of the most common medical conditions that cause loss of vision. If left untreated, it can lead to blindness.
Surgery is often the last resort but it is only widely available in the United States and is sorely missing in developing countries with underprivileged medical systems.
Lanosterol, a biomolecule that belongs to a group of chemical compounds called sterols, reverses the development of cataract. It was tested on animals and was shown to shrink the clusters in the eyes of rabbits and dogs.
Professor Kang Zhang, from the University of California in San Diego, conducted a study on two families with children born with congenital cataracts. His team developed eye drops containing the lanosterol compound and successfully discovered that it decreased the cataracts' severity and improved lens clarity.
“We went on to test the effect of the eye drops in dogs with cataracts. We gave them eye drops twice a day for six weeks and found it had reduced the effect of cataract severity,” Zhang told IFLScience.
The study was published in Nature.com on July 2015.
Zhang believes that the treatment could become an important alternative in cataract treatment and prevention. The ultimate goal, according to him, is to be able to develop and create an economical yet effective drug that can be used worldwide, particularly in low-income and low-resource areas.
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