Antioxidant Shows Promise in Preventing Degenerative Vision Problems

A research group at the Missouri University of Science and Technology are testing an antioxidant that may prevent cataracts and other degenerative eye disorders, including macular degeneration.

Age-related eye problems are thought to currently affect at least 30 million Americans, and macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in those over age 65. Although there are treatments that can slow the progression of age-related vision disorders, there is currently no cure for cataracts and macular degeneration.

However, early research led by Dr. Nuran Ercal has shown success with eyedrops that contain the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine amide in treating certain degenerative eye disorders. This particular antioxidant is thought to be effective in part because it is rich in glutathione, which helps stave off the cellular damage caused by conditions like macular degeneration.

The research team recently received a three-year grant to continue study. Preliminary testing showed the antioxidant eyedrops to slow cataract growth in rats with cataracts and prevent cataracts from forming in rats without the condition.

Further study will focus in part on whether the solution can also reverse the effects of degeneration. The potential for treatment in humans is not yet known, but researchers hope that ongoing success in animal subjects will eventually lead to human applications.

If you would like to learn more about macular degeneration, cataracts or other degenerative vision disorders, please contact to locate an experienced eye doctor near you.