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Photo Bleaching of Cataracts in Our Future?

March 23, 2010

I read an interesting article today in the New York Times, by Henry Fountain titled: Laser Treatment May Work for Cataracts.  The article describes some research out of Denmark, published on line in Plosone.

A cataract is an aging process whereby the eye's natural lens becomes more dense and opacified.  The main treatment for cataracts is surgery, removal of the lens with its replacement with an IOL.  As a worldwide treatment, this can be expensive, requiring a trained surgeon and an OR.  The authors of this paper are attempting to reverse the lens' aging process with the use of a laser to bleach the lens. 

The conclude:

femtosecond photolysis has the potential clinical value of replacing
invasive cataract surgery by a non-invasive treatment modality that can
be placed in mobile units, thus breaking down many of the barriers
impeding access to treatment in remote and poor regions of the world.

This is certainly an interesting and novel approach towards addressing the world's leading cause of reversible blindness!

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