Eyedrops for cataract

Introduction

In this article, we will be sharing with you on the effectiveness of using eyedrops to treat cataracts.

What are cataracts?

Cataract occurs when the natural lens in the eye turns cloudy. This is often caused by ageing and overexposure to ultraviolet rays. There are other less common causes, such as the use of steroids or childhood cataract. Typically, one will develop age-related cataract around the age of 50 and will require cataract surgery treatment to see clearly again. The surgery is done through a keyhole incision and takes about 30 minutes per eye. Most people can return to work after 1 week though it takes about 1 month for the eye to fully recover. If cataract is left untreated, it can lead to blindness.

Are there eyedrops that can effectively treat cataracts?

In a 2015 study, scientists from Saudi Arabia, China and America discovered a naturally occurring steroid called lanosterol which can be used to treat cataracts non-surgically. It was first tested on 2 children who developed cataracts as they were found to have a rare genetic mutation that blocked the production of lanosterol. When injected, the scientists found that the lanosterol kept the children’s lens clear by stopping the breakdown and clumping of the clear protein of the lens. This increased transparency of the lens allowed the 2 children to see clearly. When lanosterol was used in animals with cataract, it was found to shrink the cataract and improve the transparency of the lens.

Another study conducted by scientists at the University of California San Francisco, University of Michigan, University of Washington and Washington University School of Medicine found a compound that is able to reverse cataract when administered as eyedrops. This compound known as ‘Compound 29’ was tested on lab mice and could partially restore the transparency to the mice’s lens affected by cataract. The limitation of this study of course was that mice were unable to share their experience.

While exciting, scientists still need to invest more time in research to ensure the above are safe and effective for human use. More stringent clinical trials are still required to ascertain the visual improvement of eyedrops versus a cataract surgery, which is the only proven way to restore vision for those suffering from cataracts.

lights-and-cataract graphic

Treating cataracts in Singapore

Currently in Singapore, the only effective way to restore good vision is through the surgical removal of cataracts and replacing it with an intraocular lens. Cataract surgery is one of the most performed eye surgeries in the world, which is low risk and has high success rate. Intravenous-sedation is usually administered during the surgery to provide comfort. Most people with normal age-related cataracts and no underlying eye conditions are likely to regain good vision after cataract surgery.

Seeing an ophthalmologist in Singapore

If you suspect you may have cataracts, it is recommended to see an ophthalmologist to have your eyes examined. Symptoms of cataracts include a gradual decrease in vision, dull colour vision or requiring better lighting to see better.

At Atlas Eye Specialist Centre, we offer a comprehensive $86 cataract assessment, which includes pupil dilation and consultation with our Senior Consultant Eye Surgeon, Dr David Chan. Dr Chan specialises in anterior segment surgeries, including cataract surgery, laser cataract surgery and complex cataract surgery. Please contact us +65 6737 9119 or atlaseye@atlaseye.sg to schedule an appointment.

Elderly CoupleReferences:
https://www.drsimonskalicky.com.au/blog/are-eye-drops-able-to-cure-cataracts-without-surgery/
https://www.verywellhealth.com/eye-drops-for-cataracts-3421711