World-leading eye experts have made a breakthrough that could potentially change the way cataracts are treated - with potential for drug therapy to replace surgery.
Cataract is a clouding of the eye lens that develops over time and affects the quality of vision. It is caused by an accumulation of protein in the lens that reduce the transmission of light to the retina. Previous research led by ARU found that cataracts account for almost half of global cases of blindness.
A significantly developed cataract can only currently be treated by a surgical procedure to remove the cloudy lens and insert an artificial replacement.
A team of international scientists, led by Professor Barbara Pierscionek of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), has published peer-reviewed research that shows the sophisticated optics of the lens develops much earlier in gestation than has previously been thought possible. They also found how a particular protein (aquaporin) responsible for water passage in the lens disrupts the optical development, leading to cataract formation.
The scientists have spent more than a decade conducting the most precise measurements on optics of the lens at SPring-8, the world's largest and most powerful synchrotron, in Japan.
The synchrotron is a particle accelerator that produces powerful X-rays by ...