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Cataract Surgery? No thanks. I'll use a drop.

We know eye drops work in the treatment of glaucoma, dry eyes, inflammation and infection. To this date, however, there are no eye drops that will cure or control cataracts, macular degeneration or floaters. The ophthalmic community has long sought a preventative medicine to minimize cataracts. A few studies offer mildly suggestive evidence that the lutein and zeaxanthin used in many of our dry macular degeneration patients may actually help minimize the progression of cataracts. This research is still new and controversial.

What excited us recently was the report of an eye drop that has been successful in stopping the progression of cataracts. The drop has even turned a cataract back into a clear lens! Apparently, lanosterol stops a type of enzymatic or chemical reaction which causes the lens in the eye to turn from clear to opaque. In addition, the evidence now in multiple animals such as rabbits and dogs show the reversal of cataracts. (At home, my black lab, Jack was particularly excited about this as seven of the "patients" were black labradors!) Before you say, "Hey Dr. Keg- can I have this eye drop?" it's not ready for prime time yet. My estimate is 3-5 years of moving from animals to human trials before we know whether it is safe and effective in humans. It's the first exciting news I've seen about the potential for an eye drop to reverse cataracts.

 

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