Cataract is a condition that affects the vision of more than half the adults aged 40 and above in the US. Cataracts are removed with the help of surgery and over the years, surgeons have been perfecting their techniques and trying to reduce recovery time and reduce the risks associated with cataract surgery. An estimated 20 million Americans experience a loss in vision due to cataract which can only be treated by surgery.
While cataract surgery has become quite efficient over the years, like all surgeries, there are risks associated with this procedure as well. Corneal incisions, stitches, and other aspects of cataract surgery can increase healing time and at times leave the patient prone to infections.
Eyedrops to reverse cataracts
Researchers in the University of California, San Diego have recently made a discovery that looks quite promising. The team of researchers developed steroid eyedrops to reverse cataracts. So far, these eyedrops have been tested on animals with excellent results. Studies on children suffering from congenital cataracts revealed that cataract in these children were the result of a genetic mutation. Genetic mutation is an anomaly in the genes of a person. Often such anomalies can interfere with the production of certain hormones and chemicals in the body leading to certain genetic conditions. In this case, the genetic mutation interfered with the processes that led to the production of a steroid called lanosterol.
This gave researchers the idea that perhaps external application of lanosterol might have the potential to treat cataracts. The steroid injections were then developed and first tested on rabbits, and then later, on dogs. The team reported a significant improvement in vision for both rabbits and dogs. They observed that the steroid injection reduced the formation of protein on the lens that was responsible for cataracts.
The future of cataract reversing eyedrops
Although the eyedrops are still at an early stage of testing, it is safe to say that if approved, these steroid eyedrops will be a revolutionary breakthrough in the ophthalmic field. Scientists across the world are hoping for positive news on these eyedrops since they could potentially eliminate all risks associated with the surgical removal of cataracts. The large majority of Americans who suffer from cataract will have a low risk alternative for treating cataracts and improving vision. With no incisions or stitches whatsoever, patients can resume their normal activities without fearing about the risk of infections.