Cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world, affecting over 20 million people in the United States alone. While cataract surgery is a safe and effective treatment, there are currently no permanent nonsurgical options for the disease.
However, new research is shedding light on promising new approaches to cataract care. One promising area of research is the development of eye drops that could prevent or slow the progression of cataracts. For example, a recent study found that eye drops containing the naturally occurring steroid lanosterol were effective in preventing the formation of cataracts in animal models.
Another promising area of research is gene therapy. Gene therapy is a type of treatment that uses genes to correct or treat genetic disorders. In the context of cataract care, gene therapy could be used to deliver genes that encode for healthy lens proteins to the eye. This could help to prevent or slow the development of cataracts.
In addition to new medical treatments, researchers are also developing new surgical techniques to improve the outcomes of cataract surgery. For example, one new technique called phacoemulsification with toric intraocular lens (IOL) implantation is being used to treat cataracts associated with astigmatism. This technique can help to improve vision and reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses after surgery.
While new treatments and surgical techniques are still in the early stages of development, they offer hope for people with cataracts and their families. With continued research, we may one day be able to prevent or cure cataracts altogether.