All About Cataracts: Treatments and Drugs

Tuesday, 07 Sep 2010 04:57 PM

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With a cataract, the lens of a patient’s eye will start turning cloudy, progressing to an opaque white in the most extreme cases. Cataracts are typically brought on by age and are common in the elderly. More than 50 percent of Americans are either diagnosed with cataracts or have undergone cataract surgery by the time they turn 80.

The different types of cataracts are: secondary cataract, traumatic cataract, congenital cataract, and radiation cataract. Surgery is the most  effective treatment for the condition. It involves replacing the occluded lens or the clouded lens with a new one made of plastic. In cases where replacements or implants aren't effective, the vision is corrected with glasses and contact lenses.
 
The five top drugs used to treat cataracts are:
  1. L-lysine salt of bendazac in cataracts has demonstrated to denature protein in vivo as well as in vitro. The drug entry into the lens has been shown by radioassay and HPLC and can be used for cataract treatment as well.
  2. Recent studies in Israel have also found that blood pressure-lowering compounds including statins and other drugs for lowering cholesterol are also beneficial in cataract treatment. However, this has not been approved by a regulatory authority in the United States.
  3. After surgical intervention, drugs are also used for maintenance therapy. Cataract drugs include cycloplegics, corticosteroids, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs including topical formulations eg: ketorolac tromethamine 0.5% and diclofenac sodium 0.1% are found to be as efficacious as corticosteroids to prevent inflammatory responses from the body for rejection of the implant and other adverse events.
  4. Eye drops containing N-acetyl carnosine have been studied in Russia for the treatment of cataracts and have been found to be effective. However, these drugs are not FDA-approved.
  5. Natural therapies that have been investigated and may be successful in cataract treatment are – lutein and zeaxanthin carotenoids, bilberry extract, and combinations of antioxidants with vitamins, zinc, and bioflavonoids.

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