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Scientists Create Eye Drops That Desolve Cataracts

No more eye surgery needed! Simply take a series of eye drops and wallah, no more cataracts.

Many years ago, I remember my grandmother and grandfather had to have surgery to get their cataracts removed. Soon surgery could be a thing of the past. Researchers have discovered a compound that reverses cataracts and is soluble enough to be used as eye drops, Science reports.

"Cataracts in humans have been around as long as humans have been around, and this is the first time in history that they're using a nonsurgical approach for their removal," says Andrew Morgenstern, O.D., chair of AOA's New Technology Committee and a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton whose current assignment is with the Vision Center of Excellence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Crystallins in our eyes work as chaperones to help prevent the clumping of proteins, or aggregation of insoluble amyloids, that cause cataracts, but crystallins can become overwhelmed as we age. Previous research had shown that lanosterol, which belongs to a group of chemical compounds called sterols, reversed cataracts. However, lanosterol was not water-soluble enough to be included in an eye drop solution and had to be injected into the eye. In this new study, researchers tested 32 additional sterols, focusing on Compound 29, which not only dissolved the amyloids in a lab dish but also prevented the formation of new protein clumps. Researchers then confirmed that Compound 29 reversed hereditary- and age-related cataracts in mice and in human lens tissue removed during cataract surgery.

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