New Discoveries Made on How Cataracts Form

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Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Fifty-one percent of blindness cases in the world are due to untreated cataracts, according to the World Health Organization. Surgery to replace the natural lens with a synthetic one is currently the most common treatment. The new research shows the possibility for more preventative and non-invasive options in the future.

The Mechanics of Cataract Formation

The study discovered what happens on the molecular level when cataracts are formed. The process of the eye interpreting light requires that the lens stay transparent. To do this, several water-soluble proteins called crystallins are at work in the lens and cornea. One of these proteins acts as a “chaperone,” preventing other proteins from clumping together. However, the number of chaperone proteins is finite. The lens gets cloudy when proteins are allowed to clump, resulting in a cataract.

The researchers suggest that this discovery could lead to new treatments for both before and after the formation of cataracts. The next step would be to develop targeted drug treatment. The drug could prevent the proteins from clumping and reinforce chaperone proteins. Though researchers aren’t near the development stage yet, the options opened up by this study are promising. Future treatments could prevent cataracts resulting from any of their many causes. These include aging, genetics, drug use, trauma, and UV light exposure. Non-invasive options would be a very important development for those without access to lens replacement.

Editor’s note: At Natural Eye Care, we have information on natural approaches to preventing and managing cataracts. Learn about symptoms and causes of cataracts.

Source: Kingsley C, Brubaker W, Markovic S. Preferential and Specific Binding of Human αB-Crystallin to a Cataract-Related Variant of γS-Crystallin. Structure. 2013.

Next: Nutritional support, diet, & lifestyle tips for the lens.

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New Discoveries Made on How Cataracts Form
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A new study has discovered the exact mechanism responsible for cataract formation in the eyes which could open new avenues for prevention and treatment of cataracts.
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About Marc_Grossman

Marc Grossman, Doctor of Optometry and New York State Licensed Acupuncturist, is a holistic eye doctor and co-author of a number of books on natural vision care. Since 1980 Dr. Grossman has been helped many people maintain healthy vision and even improve eyesight. He is dedicated to providing information to those with conditions ranging from myopia and dry eyes to potentially vision threatening diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. His combined multi-disciplinary approach using nutrition, eye exercises, lifestyle changes and Chinese Medicine provides him with a wide array of tools and approaches with which to tackle difficult eye problems.