Eye drops could help clear cataracts without surgery

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Eye drops containing a natural chemical could help seniors avoid cataract surgery, according to new research

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, found that an enzyme-created compound called lanosterol prevents the clumping of proteins in the human eye that can lead to obstructed vision. A six-week study found applying lanosterol eye drops to dogs with age-related cataracts decreased lens cloudiness, and subsequently reversed the course of the disease. The researchers note the drops won't likely be able to clear up dense cataracts, but may be effective in early intervention in mild to moderate cases.

While the results of the primary tests are positive, some experts advise people to be skeptical of the drops' supposed “magic bullet” effectiveness.

“Not all cataracts are the same, and it is not a single disease,” University of California Los Angeles ophthalmologist Joseph Horowitz told PBS Newshour.

UCSD researchers say the lanosterol drops need several more years of study before they're ready for human trials.