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New cataract dissolving eye drops

New cataract-dissolving eye drops

Friday 28 August 2015

In the first alternative development to surgery for cataracts, scientists have tested a steroid-based eye drop which could simply dissolve the problem away…

1 in 3 people over the age of 65 in the UK suffer from cataracts. Currently, the only treatment available is surgery using either lasers or scalpels to remove the obstruction and sometimes replace the lens. For years scientist have searched for a non-invasive therapy, and it now looks as though a team at the University of California have made a significant breakthrough.

The work of molecular biologist Ling Zhao and her team started with the observation that children with genetically inherited cataracts do not produce the steroid Ianesterol. It was then discovered that in cases where their parents were not affected, the steroid was present. Using human lens cells, the team then tested Ianesterol’s ability to shrink lab models of cataracts. The results showed a significant decrease.

The team then moved on to eye drop trials with rabbits and dogs. The effects were startling – the researchers could tell just from looking at the animals’ eyes that the cataracts had decreased. Fellow researcher Ruben Abagyan states “I think the next natural step is looking to translate it into humans. There is nothing more exciting than that”.

Please note: Ianesterol is in early test stages on animals. It is not licenced for use, nor is it available in the UK.


  1. Science Magazine:
    Eye drops could dissolve cataracts.


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