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Biotech Medicine

Eye Drops Could Dissolve Cataracts 70

An anonymous reader writes: As Slashdot readers age, more and more will be facing surgery for cataracts. The lack of cataract surgery in much of the world is a major cause of blindness. Researchers at University of California San Diego have identified lanosterol as a key molecule in the prevention of cataract formation that points to a novel strategy for cataract prevention and non-surgical treatment. The abstract is freely available from Nature. If you have cataracts, you might want to purchase a full reprint while you can still read it.
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Eye Drops Could Dissolve Cataracts

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    As Slashdot readers age

    I'm not old! I'm just not as young as I used to be, you insensitive clod!

    • Oh, so judging by your sensitivity, we would put you on display with the rest of the mummies in Cairo? ;-p

  • Interesting, it's a main ingredient of Nivea creme.
    • by bazorg ( 911295 )

      Urgh. That's the worst yoghurt I've ever had.

      • Urgh. That's the worst yoghurt I've ever had.

        Pro-tip. That other bad yoghurt you tried - the one your flatmate left in the fridge but didn't seem to eat. The one that left you with a sore throat.

        Maybe she didn't buy it to eat [www.nhs.uk].

    • Interesting, it's a main ingredient of Nivea creme.

      Interesting - do you have a source for that. It's not a listed ingredient in Australia.

      Here's what listed, with some additional information:-

      Parafinnum liquidum (fancy name for refined mineral oil - it'll grease you up good and proper, all the way through),
      PEG-150 (Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, emulsifier and thickener, High molecular weight Polyethylene Glycol Diester of Stearic Acid - like methylparaben, shouldn't be used on broken skin, in this case because it can carry other ingredients),
      methylpar

  • Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spineboy ( 22918 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @04:46AM (#50184171) Journal

    While cataract surgery isn't a big deal, it still is surgery, requiring cutting of the eye, replacing the lens, etc.

    Part of the aging process of the eye also makes it stiffer, producing presbyopia (Far sightedness). I wonder if these drops will also affect that as well. Now that I'm on the high side of 40, I've noticed this in my own eyes, and it is quite irritating.

    • Part of the aging process of the eye also makes it stiffer, producing presbyopia (Far sightedness). I wonder if these drops will also affect that as well. Now that I'm on the high side of 40, I've noticed this in my own eyes, and it is quite irritating.

      If you haven't already, get progressive lenses. You'll hate them for several weeks, and then you will likely love them.

      • There are a few "progressive" contact lenses as well. I use Air-Optix with great success. They are NOT weighted for orientation but (I believe) have a radial variation in power, and somehow your optics processing center learns, very quickly, to use the reduced power info for short-range work and the full-power info for distance viewing.

        That said, the day either medication unstiffens my natural lens or a focussable artificial implant is approved, I'm going to jump at the chance. In fact, I'd prefer the la

      • Part of the aging process of the eye also makes it stiffer, producing presbyopia (Far sightedness). I wonder if these drops will also affect that as well. Now that I'm on the high side of 40, I've noticed this in my own eyes, and it is quite irritating.

        If you haven't already, get progressive lenses. You'll hate them for several weeks, and then you will likely love them.

        Sounds interesting [wikipedia.org] (thanks for the tip), mine are deteriorating rapidly. I've only worn glasses since I was thirty. Two years ago I had to get a second pair for distance. And this year I had to get a third pair for close up.

        I've had a partially detached retina in one eye - will that affect progressive lens? (I was told it stops me from wearing contacts)

        • by wwphx ( 225607 )
          I'm 53, I've been wearing glasses since I was 13 or so and had cataract surgery May '14. BIG mistake. My vision wasn't that bad, and now I have to put on reading glasses to read anything: computers, books, my phone, differentiating between Euro coins, whatever. Total PITA. Yes, I can drive at night without glasses. Big whoop. But it's totally f'd up my photography: I can't see the controls accurately without changing to my reading glasses, and I can't see through the viewfinder while wearing them. I'
          • I'm 53, I've been wearing glasses since I was 13 or so and had cataract surgery May '14.

            Crap - I'm older than that - I'd never even considered the possibility of cataracts until now. Presbyopia really took me by surprise - I was certain that there was something wrong with my prespriptions when I suddenly needed two pair of glasses. I'd been having to use a screen reader for most of the day for the three or four years prior.

            I can't say anything about a partially detached retina, I've never had that problem, talk to an ophthalmologist.

            I do (he's a mate). He said "don't get in any more fights" - other than that he gives good advice. I'll ask him about progressive lens next chance I get. I can cope with thr

            • by wwphx ( 225607 )
              I live at 9,000' and apparently high altitude accelerates cataract formation (it also can whack your thyroid and cause hypertension), that was probably part of my problem.

              While wearing progressives, I had no problem shooting handguns or long arms. Post surgery, handguns are tough to shoot (can see the target, can't see the sights well) and rifles with telescopic sights were no problem. I tried getting some prescription progressive reading glasses, but they didn't work worth anything. I'm considering h
              • I live at 9,000' and apparently high altitude accelerates cataract formation.

                Interesting - not something I'd considered. Is that just due to UV levels, air pressure, or some other factor?

                I spend most of my time at 890 metres (2,920 ft) so altitude might not be much of a problem. UV levels are high [arpansa.gov.au], and I have never worn sunglasses very often. I'm reconsidering the sunglasses now.

                While wearing progressives, I had no problem shooting handguns or long arms. Post surgery, handguns are tough to shoot (can see the target, can't see the sights well) and rifles with telescopic sights were no problem.

                No handguns at my place. That would be illegal.
                From what little I've read progressive lenses may ruin my archery if they affect my ability to quickly judge distances. (I'm not certain that I do adjust for d

                • by wwphx ( 225607 )
                  Apparently the altitude thing is having less atmosphere to protect us from radiation. It's not as glaring and hot as, say, Phoenix, AZ, it's somewhat more insidious. We don't get skin cancer as much, they don't get their thyroids and cataracts. My wife is an astronomer and her father was a pathologist, so she has a lot of medical knowledge.

                  I would recommend sunglasses, but that's a style choice. It's been 30+ years since I tried archery, though we have a range about 45 minutes away that I've been wan
          • had cataract surgery May '14. BIG mistake. My vision wasn't that bad, and now I have to put on reading glasses to read anything: computers, books, my phone, differentiating between Euro coins, whatever. Total PITA.

            I've been wearing glasses for about as long (within a year). If my (opthalmic) optician told me that I had a cataract and that I needed surgery, I'd be starting from the expectation that I was going to lose the lens in one or both eyes, and that would drastically affect my vision, and my visual f

        • I've only worn glasses since I was thirty. Two years ago I had to get a second pair for distance. And this year I had to get a third pair for close up.

          For me it was since 42 or so, though I needed them LONG before that (my wife finally convinced me). At first I got away with mild reading/computer glasses, which I could leave on for anything but driving. Since then I've needed more power, and the amount per eye diverged, so I got the progressives.

          I seriously almost handed them right back in the optical place. The effect was so crazy. My brain had to get used to them, but once it did, loved 'em. I can bring things into focus at any distance. Read a book, us

          • I seriously almost handed them right back in the optical place. The effect was so crazy. My brain had to get used to them, but once it did, loved 'em. I can bring things into focus at any distance. Read a book, use a computer, walk around, and drive all with the same pair. (I did get a single vision computer pair later - more of a luxury; the progressives are fine for the computer but the single vision are just a bit nicer.)

            What little I know of progressive lens comes from reading this thread and the wikipedia page. The reaction to first wearing them sounds normal [wikipedia.org], particularly given your delay [wikipedia.org] in getting glasses.

            Thanks for the information.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I've only worn glasses since I was thirty. Two years ago I had to get a second pair for distance. And this year I had to get a third pair for close up.

          Posts like yours are a profoundly annoying form of narcissism. You convey no useful information by referencing relative time intervals without a baseline. For all we know you could be 33 or 116. [today.com]

          • Dear coward

            I've only worn glasses since I was thirty. Two years ago I had to get a second pair for distance. And this year I had to get a third pair for close up.

            Posts like yours are a profoundly annoying form of narcissism. You convey no useful information by referencing relative time intervals without a baseline. For all we know you could be 33 or 116. [today.com]

            Insightful.

            You read /. anecdotes authored by pseudonyms looking for facts to base your medical opinions on? Your ironic accusation of narcissism is the least of your failings.

        • I've only worn glasses since I was thirty. Two years ago I had to get a second pair for distanc

          I hate to tell you this, but you're well within the normal range of variation. Sorry to break the news to you.

          You will die ; maybe not because of this medical issue, but you will die.

          Incidentally, I'm following the same progress of eye disease, within about 25%. I'm going to die too.

          • I've only worn glasses since I was thirty. Two years ago I had to get a second pair for distanc

            I hate to tell you this, but you're well within the normal range of variation. Sorry to break the news to you.

            You will die ; maybe not because of this medical issue, but you will die.

            No-oooo. Tell me that you're just trolling. Please.

            I'm a special snowflake that will last throughout the year. If you don't take that back I'll hold my breath. Oh wait....

            I'll pay that. Thanks for the laugh. If there are any moderators left that don' t just mod down that should be modded Funny.

            Incidentally, I'm following the same progress of eye disease, within about 25%. I'm going to die too.

            [shrug] I guess I've read over 20K books, so I'm not complaining - I just felt a little stupid after thinking that the prescription for two pairs of glasses was wrong. And that was after "thunking" it was an issue wit

            • I sort of like all my wrinkles. Which is just, um, weird. My girlfriend freaks out about hers. I catch sight of mine in a mirror and it just makes me laugh, which causes her to lecture me about not making the laugh lines worse (which just makes it harder not to laugh).

              "One man's wrinkles are another man's laughter lines."

              It's probably not worth the effort of trying the line on your girlfriend. She's going to kill you for mentioning them anyway, though you might get a slightly quicker and less agonising dea

    • While cataract surgery isn't a big deal, it still is surgery, requiring cutting of the eye, replacing the lens, etc.

      Part of the aging process of the eye also makes it stiffer, producing presbyopia (Far sightedness). I wonder if these drops will also affect that as well.

      Part of the problem with cataract surgery is that a fixed lens is inserted in place of your natural, flexible lens. This means your focus is fixed after the surgery, usually on far objects, and you are totally dependent on glasses for n

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      Actually, it doesn't cause far-sightedness OR near-sightedness. It causes inflexibility. If you tend to normally be far-sighted, this will make you unable to see closely. If you tend to be near-sighted (as I am) this will make you unable to focus at a distance.

      FWIW, I still don't wear glasses to read, but I do wear them to use a computer. If I were to drive, I'd need a second pair to drive with. Inflexible. I do not find progressive lenses tolerable, I find them essentially useless. My main use of gl

  • by rebelwarlock ( 1319465 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @05:15AM (#50184219)

    If you have cataracts, you might want to purchase a full reprint while you can still read it.

    The summary is only five sentences long, and you had to use one to be an asshole?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well your Comment Subject is only one line and you used it to be an asshole.

      It was just a joke bro .. who would be insulted by it? Maybe we should stop getting offended by every little thing?

      • It was just a joke bro .. who would be insulted by it?

        Someone who is worried about their slowly deteriorating sight and has their worst fears raised by this deliberately crude joke.

        OP might wish to spend a few hours trying to navigate the world without vision - or with severely degraded vision. In fact, it's an experiment that almost anyone who isn't already severely visually impaired would benefit from. It's the old "walking a mile in another man's shoes" thing.

        Try it one day. If you don't hate and fear

  • by Eukariote ( 881204 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @06:01AM (#50184309)

    N-acetyl carnosine drops have been used with good success for a while. Bought them for my grandmother in law. Over the course of a couple of years it halted and mostly reversed her developing cataracts. Can get them from multiple sources.

    Here is a link to a paper [nih.gov] describing some of the early research.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Please read all of this.

      http://www.berkeleywellness.com/self-care/over-counter-products/article/cataract-drops

    • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @10:01AM (#50184989) Journal

      N-acetyl carnosine drops have been used with good success for a while. Bought them for my grandmother in law. Over the course of a couple of years it halted and mostly reversed her developing cataracts. Can get them from multiple sources.

      Good information - especially while we're waiting for this stuff to become available.

      I note, though, that:
        - This newly-identified material substantially clears cataracts in six days while N-acetyl carnosine takes four months for significant improvement to show.
        - This newly-identintified material appears to be what the eye normally uses in a specific mechanism to prevent/repair cataracts, while N-acetyl carnosine appears to have more generic antioxidant and chelation properties. (It's a modification of carnosine to a form which can penetrate the tissues of the eye and is converted back to carnosine within them. Carnosine is great for retarding several ageing mechanisms but it looks more like a generic helper than a specific repair-mechanism component or trigger for cataracts.)
        - The discovery of this new stuff occurred by identifying what was missing in people with a genetic early-cataract problem. If this is necessary for cataract prevention/repair and its production declines (but doesn't fully stop) with age, N-acetyl carnosine might not work for people who don't make it at all.

      So though N-acetyl carnosine looks good, this looks great and specific. (And I don't see any reason to stop the former even if taking the latter. Unless some specific interaction issue shows up I'd expect them to work well together.)

  • Figure out if there's something that can bring back the flexibility of the lens as well.

    • yep, reading glasses are annoying as hell especially when your distance vision is perfect.
  • I'm sort of holding out for the inevitable cataract surgery as an upgrade.

    I don't have significant cataracts yet, but I have no reason to expect that I won't. And when I do, and get replacement lenses, I expect better visual acuity than I have now, and hopefully better focal accommodation. There are already various replacement-lens products that offer accommodation; ten or twenty years down the road, I hope much better products will be available.

    I briefly considered laser surgery to correct my vision when I

  • by xmas2003 ( 739875 ) * on Sunday July 26, 2015 @04:20PM (#50186315) Homepage
    Currently, cataract surgery is the most commonly performed operation - millions every year in the United States alone. This sounds a bit too good to be true ... but if it actually worked, it would have a HUGE impact on the eye industry.

    The real holy grail would be if it also restored the flexibility of the lens so you would get your accommodation back.

It was pity stayed his hand. "Pity I don't have any more bullets," thought Frito. -- _Bored_of_the_Rings_, a Harvard Lampoon parody of Tolkein

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