No other cure is currently available to treat cataract aside from a surgical operation wherein the eyes’ opaque or cloudy lenses are replaced with artificial transparent intraocular lenses.
There is also a relative absence of medicinal drugs in treating cataracts; primarily because its main causes remain unclear. Although several risk factors have been identified by eye experts—some of which are aging, hereditary influence, exposure to ultraviolet rays, stress, diseases, frequent smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and infiltration of toxic substances—the pursuit to study cataract formation is elusive. So are the ways in curing it surgery-free.
However, in recent ophthalmological developments, an alternative for cataract surgery shows promise to cure the health condition in the form of a topical eye drop called ‘lanosterol.’
In comparison to a surgical operation, the eye-drop is far less expensive. But more than the question of affordability, lanosterol begs to ask this with more emphasis: is this alternative viable?
Knowing the condition
The natural lenses of the human eye are composed of crystalline proteins which keep them clear. But the same proteins can contribute to formation of cataracts when they disrupt and break down, a circumstance that is likely to happen as people grow older.
Cataract is an eye condition which accounts to 51% of the world blindness, according to World Health Organization. The percentage represents about 20 million people (2010), and many remain blind due to lack of access to eye care.
During a cataract surgery—which usually takes less than an hour—the ophthalmologist makes a small incision in the eye, removes the opaque lens, and then implants the artificial transparent one. Majority of the cataract surgical procedures are a success with only a need for follow-up appointments to ensure proper healing.
Discovering the alternative
While it hasn’t been officially deemed as a reliable treatment for human cataracts, lanosterol remains relevant after having been proven to significantly lessen the severity of cataracts in animals such as rabbits and dogs, among others. Reports say that when the eye-drop was applied to the animals’ affected eye, the breaking down of proteins which cause the blurry vision stopped.
Story continues on page 2…