SCIENCE AND RESEARCH

Drugs for cataracts treatment might soon become reality

At the moment, the condition can only be corrected with surgery.

In Summary

•At the moment, the condition can only be corrected with surgery.

•In Kenya, the prevalence of cataracts is about 43 per cent, contributing to almost half of blindness cases among those aged 40 and above.

Image: health.com

World-leading eye experts have made a breakthrough that could potentially change the way cataracts are treated with the potential for drug therapy to replace surgery.

Most cataracts develop over the years, leading to clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye.

 In Kenya, the prevalence of cataracts is about 43 per cent, contributing to almost half of blindness cases among those aged 40 and above.

At the moment, the condition can only be corrected with surgery, however, after a series of laboratory tests, scientists have suggested that the affiliation might soon be treated with drugs.

Young Reuben Kigame. He went blind in his youth because of untreated cataracts and corneal damage.
BLIND VISIONARY: Young Reuben Kigame. He went blind in his youth because of untreated cataracts and corneal damage.
Image: COURTESY:

It is the first research of this kind in the world and their study was published recently in the peer-reviewed journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.

"Cataracts are one of the main causes of vision loss and blindness worldwide, yet for many people, surgery is inaccessible for various reasons,” said Professor Pierscionek, Deputy Dean (Research and Innovation) for the Faculty of Health.

An ophthalmologist operates on an elderly cataract patient during a free eye clinic at King Fahad Hospital in Lamu
An ophthalmologist operates on an elderly cataract patient during a free eye clinic at King Fahad Hospital in Lamu
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES

"Our findings indicate the role of the aquaporin proteins and the crucial importance of this for the lens to work correctly and the eye to see clearly.”

Further research in the area is underway but with the discovery and the research put together by the scientists, they are very positive that drug therapy for cataracts is possible.

 “This could potentially revolutionise the way cataract is treated, opening up the field for drug-based therapy rather than surgery. This would have exciting implications for public health."