Cruelly ignored, but NOT forgotten
I wanted to give a short list of cataract reversal eyedrops that demonstrated safety and efficacy in animal and/or human trials. They each clear the lens by different mechanisms. Each of them was a bright ray of hope for humanity. Most of them could have put an end to cataract surgery for good, but one by one, all of them were cruelly ignored. Despite their success in the lab, in animal models or human trials, none of them were ever offered to cataract patients by the eye profession, as they should have been. Consequently, the only option available today continues to be surgery.
It goes without saying that everybody who is facing cataract surgery would rather avoid it, and clear their vision without destroying the integrity of their eye. Since several alternatives to surgery already existed (including the eyedrops in the list below), the wishes and needs of cataract patients worldwide continue to be disrespected.
Even if the surgery is successful, the cataract patient will lose all remaining power of accommodation, so if he has a monofocal IOL implanted, he will need several pairs of eyeglasses to cope with near and distance vision. Also, as he won't be able to use multifocal eyeglasses any more, he may have trouble going up or down stairways. All this could have been avoided by the eyedrops in the list, which preserve the power of accommodation. As if that weren't enough, surgery carries risks of inferior outcomes and secondary complications.
Yet in the world today, many people with cataracts (around 35 million) do not have access even to surgery. The prior existence of these non-surgical eyedrops therefore means that 35 million people are needlessly blind. Here is the list:
1. Reduced glutathione - a S=S bond breaker (Japan, 1960)
2. Esters that restore optical clarity (Benedek at al., MIT, 1980)
3. Bifunctional molecules that restore optical clarity "in lieu" of the natural chaperone, alpha-crystallin (Muthukumar, University of Massachusetts, 2017)
4. N-acetylcarnosine (NAC) (Babizhayev, Russia, 1996)
5. Organic germanium (G-132, G-385, etc.) - an AGE solubilizer (Nakamura et al., Kitasato University, Japan, 2000)
6. Lutein - a "surrogate" carotenoid (previously available on the Internet, but no longer)
7. Aldose reductase inhibitors (Kinoshita, 2010, USA)
8. C-KAD - a glycation inhibitor plus chelating agent (Chakshu Pharmaceuticals, 2002, USA)
9. NACA (N-acetylcysteine amide) - a reduced glutathione precursor (Ercal, University of Missouri, 2016)
10. Lanosterol and 25-hydroxycholesterol - "chaperone" stabilizers (Kang Zhang, USA, 2015)
11. Rosmarinic acid - an AGE crosslink breaker (Glikman et al, University of Tel Aviv, Israel, 2018)
This list is not exhaustive.
There are some limitations. Firstly, reduced glutathione works only in about 50% of cases. Next, although NAC can still be bought on the Internet, it is not likely to improve cataract unless combined with a chelating agent such as EDTA, as it was in C-KAD. Finally, lanosterol or other sterols are not likely to work unless some unmodified alpha-crystallin remains in the lens, as there would be in early cataract. But the other agents on this list do not have any such limitations. They reversed advanced cataracts too, and are desperately needed. Anybody who reads this post and can do something about this tragic situation, please reply.
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