Turmeric. Source: Pixabay
A derivative of turmeric could be used in eye drops to treat the early stages of glaucoma, finds a new study led by UCL and Imperial College London researchers.
In the new Scientific Reports paper, the researchers report a new method to deliver curcumin, extracted from the yellow spice turmeric, directly to the back of the eye using eye drops, overcoming the challenge of curcumin's poor solubility.
The research team found the eye drops can reduce the loss of retinal cells in rats, which is known to be an early sign of glaucoma.
They are also investigating how the eye drops could be used as a diagnostic tool for a range of conditions.
"Curcumin is an exciting compound that has shown promise at detecting and treating the neurodegeneration implicated in numerous eye and brain conditions from glaucoma to Alzheimer's disease, so being able to administer it easily in eye drops may end up helping millions of people," said the study's lead author, Professor Francesca Cordeiro (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Western Eye Hospital and Imperial College London).