New research in the UK has been hailed as a “significant step” towards treating the disease, which is the leading cause of blindness worldwide, with drugs rather than invasive procedures
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A world-first drug could soon be used to treat cataracts instead of eye surgery, hopeful scientists have said.
British experts have shown that when mice were given eye drops of a compound called VP1-001, their lens’s ability to focus improved 61% of the time.
It also improved clarity in 46% of those treated.
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide, affecting more than half of Britons over the age of 65.
Scientists behind the potentially “revolutionary” discovery say it could mean patients no longer need an invasive procedure to replace the lens in their eyeball.
Study leader Prof Barbara Pierscionek from Anglia Ruskin University said: “This is a significant step towards a drug treatment of this extremely common disease.
“This study has demonstrated the positive effects of a compound that has been proposed as an anti-cataract drug but has never been tested before on lens optics. It is the first research of this kind worldwide.”
Cataracts are where your lens develops cloudy spots that grow larger, causing blurred vision and eventually blindness.
Prof Pierscionek said the new treatment improved some types of cataracts but not all, meaning drug development may need to differentiate between cataract types.
The condition primarily affects older adults known as age-related cataracts.
While it’s not known why people become more susceptible to cataracts as they age, a family history of the condition, smoking, diabetes, and excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk.
Genetic conditions, infections, and injuries can also cause some children to develop the disease.
Currently, surgery is the only treatment proven to be effective for cataracts.
The procedure, which can be performed in under an hour, involves making an incision in the affected eye to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear plastic lens.
Patients can then see clearly and see the difference between colors.
But while the surgery has a high success rate, patients under the NHS are usually only offered monodic lenses with a single focus point.
This means the lens is fixed for either near or far vision. Rarely, patients undergoing surgery can experience complications, including blurred or partial vision loss.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/brits-could-cataracts-treated-miracle-26981351 Brits could have cataracts treated with miracle cures instead of going under the knife