Is a Drug Treatment for Cataracts on the Horizon?
Live long enough, and you will probably develop cataracts. Right now, surgery is the only treatment for cataracts. The most common surgical procedure worldwide, cataract surgery consists of removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens. However, drug treatment for this clouding of the lens is on the horizon. As cataracts most often affect the elderly, an aging population means even more people will require treatment to preserve vision and prevent blindness. The team at Mittleman Eye discusses the future of drug treatments for cataracts.
Those with cataracts see the world through a fog. Aging causes the lens to lose flexibility and thicken. The normally clear lens of the eye clouds, making it more difficult to read, drive and perform other tasks. Cataracts develop slowly, and stronger glasses accompanied by better lighting can lessen the effects of cataracts for a while. Eventually, vision is affected.
While cataract surgery is safe, there are risks of side effects with any procedure. These include infection, bleeding and an increased risk of retinal detachment. A drug treatment for cataracts would truly prove a game changer.
In a study published in the May 2022 edition of the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, researchers used the compound oxysterol, an oxygenated derivative of cholesterol, to clear cataracts in mice. The study was conducted by a team of international scientists led by Dr. Barbara Pierscionek, the deputy dean of research and innovation in the Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, England.
The researchers placed a drop of oxysterol in the right eye of 26 mice genetically altered to have lens clouding. In the left eye, each mouse received a cyclodextrin, a neutral compound. A control group consisted of nine mice.
The result was impressive. Sixty-one percent of the lenses that received oxysterol in the form of a compound called VP1-001 experienced improved opacity. The clinical grading of opacity improved by 46%.
It is unlikely that these promising results will change cataract treatment in the near future. More studies are needed, including those in humans, before oxysterol could become a drug treatment for cataracts.
Contact Mittleman Eye
You can count on the doctors at Mittleman Eye to continue monitoring the research on drug treatments for cataracts. It is critical for you to undergo regular comprehensive eye examinations for cataract screening. Our doctors use state-of-the-art treatment to remove cataracts.
Patients who wish to make an appointment can schedule one directly online or call or text (561) 500-2020.