Scientists working in California made an amazing discovery when they found that a naturally occurring steroid, lanosterol, literally “melts” cataracts away and keeps them from returning. Amazing, right? This steroid can be given to patients through eye drops, and if approved for use on humans, would be an incredible, non-invasive treatment for those suffering from cataracts.
Lanosterol’s ability to prevent cataracts was first discovered by scientists who observed two kids in China, who suffered from a hereditary form of the condition. Science Alert reported that closer inspection revealed the children had a mutation that blocked the production of a steroid, lanosterol. The parents of the children did not possess this mutation and consequently never developed cataracts. From here, the team realized that this steroid had something to do with the formation of cataracts.
A study published in Nature showed several experiments where the team tested the effects of lanosterol on lenses donated by humans, as well as live dogs and rabbits. The results: lanosterol significantly shrank the size of the cataract.
A person develops cataracts when defective proteins in the lens builds up overtime and stops light from getting through it. The condition is, in some sense, hereditary, though it is often developed as one ages. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the primary cause of vision loss and blindness is cataracts. As of today, the only safe treatment for cataracts is surgery. A surgeon physically removes the cloudy lens from the eye and replaces it with a clear, artificial lens.
While researcher’s still lack knowledge on how exactly lanosterol functions, they believe that the steroid prevents and stops protein buildup. Tech Times suggests that is the drops work well on humans, they could prove a much needed, non-invasive treatment for those suffering from mild to moderate cataracts. Furthermore, it can prevent the condition form returning. Cataract surgery is easy and entirely safe, but these drops are an even easier alternative for the millions of Americans that will suffer from cataracts by 2050.
Although these miracle eye drops have yet to be tested on live humans, the study is already cause for celebration. Molecular biologist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology , Jonathan King to Armitage that the study is by far the strongest of its type that he has witnessed in decades.
“They discovered the phenomena and then followed with all of the experiments that you should do — that’s as biologically relevant as you can get,” King explained.
Source: Top Happy Life