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Literary Openings, Gadgets and News in Nigeria | Duketundesblog: SCIENCE: Soon cataract operations end,as doctors develops new eye drop

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

SCIENCE: Soon cataract operations end,as doctors develops new eye drop

Eye drops that could replace cataract operations are being developed by doctors. Cataracts (pictured) occur when proteins in the eye's lens clump together, turning the lens cloudy
Eye drops that could replace cataract operations are being developed by doctors.
Inexpensive to make and easy to administer, the twice-a-day drops could be in widespread use in as little as five years
In tests, they dissolved the clumps of protein that cloud the vision of more than half of pensioners.
Currently, the only cure for cataracts is an operation. And although it is quick and relatively minor procedure, it is not without complications.

Plus, a cash-strapped NHS is rationing the eye surgery and in some parts of the country patients have been told their vision is still ‘too good’ for treatment, even though their cataracts are so severe they cannot drive or read.
Other pensioners are informed that only one eye will be operated on.

A cheap but effective drug could mean that more patients get the treatment they need.
Excitingly, if the drops are given early, it might even be possible to stop cataracts from developing in the first place.

A cataract occurs when proteins in the eye’s lens clump together, stopping light from passing through and turning it cloudy.
Sight becomes blurred and colours appear washed out.
Left untreated, vision can be lost all together and cataracts cause more blindness worldwide than any other eye condition.

Now, US researchers have shown that a chemical called lanosterol that is naturally present in healthy eyes can break up the clumps that are cloud the lens.
Excitingly, lanosterol eye drops worked in elderly dogs that, like people, had developed cataracts as they aged.
They also melted away the cataracts in rabbit lenses, the journal Nature reports.
It is thought that when we are young, the lanosterol we make cope with any clumping that occurs.

But, as we age, the amount of clumping increases, and we don’t just have enough lanosterol to deal with it – and as a result cataracts develop.
Researcher Kang Zhang, an ophthalmologist, came up the idea for the eye drops after treating young two children with cataracts.

When he read their DNA, he found they carried a mutation that stopped them from making lanosterol.
The University of California, San Diego, says that given that lanosterol occurs naturally in the human eye, it should be safe for use as a drug – and he hopes to start the first clinical trials in the next one to two years.
Lanosterol eye drops could be in bathroom cabinets in five to seven years – and Dr Zhang expects them to be much cheaper than surgery.
Lanosterol may even holds promise for treating other illnesses characterised by clumps of protein, including Alzheimer’s disease.
In an accompanying article, an expert from the US government’s eye health research arm, said: ‘Although surgery to remove cataracts is efficacious and safe, ageing populations around the world are predicted to require a doubling of cataract surgery in the next 20 years.

‘The same population demographics suggest that, if development of age-related cataracts in susceptible individuals could be delayed by ten years, the need for surgery could be reduced by half.
‘Pre-symptomatic screening of age-related cataracts is easy and the eye is easily accessible for application of drugs.
‘The potential for this finding to be translated into the first practical pharmacological prevention, or even treatment, for cataracts, could not come at a more opportune time.’ 

Source: +dailymailUK

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