Aug 06, 2017

By Christine Ross

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Scientists have discovered that a naturally occurring steroid is able to melt away cataracts and prevent them from returning. The easy treatment uses eye drops. If approved for human use, the compound would be available as a non-invasive treatment for individuals with moderate forms of cataracts. Scientists first became aware of lanosterol cataract-blocking abilities by observing two children in China who had a hereditary form of the condition. It became clear that the children shared a mutation that blocked the production of the steroid. The team proposed that the steroid must play a role in the formation of cataracts. Although it’s not entirely clear how lanosterol is working, the researchers believe that the steroid prevents the proteins from building up. While cataract surgery is relatively easy and safe, the drops would serve as an easier alternative for the millions estimated to be afflicted by the condition by the year 2050. The study is published in Nature.

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