A revolutionary new cataract treatment in laboratory tests, showed extraordinarily favourable results, raising hopes that the ailment, which can presently only be treated with surgery, will soon be treated with medications.
A cataract is a clouding of the eye lens that occurs over time and reduces vision quality. It is caused by a disorganisation of proteins in the lens, which causes clumps of protein to develop, scattering light and reducing transmission to the retina. Millions of people throughout the world suffer from cataracts, which cause vision loss and blindness.
Advanced optical experiments on an oxysterol molecule that had been presented as an anti-cataract medicine have been carried out by a team of international scientists lead by those at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in the UK.
In laboratory tests, treatment with the oxysterol compound VP1-001 improved refractive index profiles in 61% of lenses, which is a critical optical characteristic for maintaining high focusing capacity.
This signifies that the lens' protein organisation is being repaired, allowing the lens to focus more effectively. This was backed up by a decrease in lens opacity in 46% of cases.
"This study demonstrated the beneficial effects of a chemical that had previously been recommended as an anti-cataract medication but had never been tested on lens optics. This is the world's first study of its sort "Professor Barbara Pierscionek, ARU's Deputy Dean (Research and Innovation), said.