Researchers from the Missouri University of Science and Technology are working with an antioxidant that they hope will prevent or cure degenerative eye diseases, including cataracts.
Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the US, since virtually everyone experiences cataracts at some point in their lives. However, researchers hope that by using eye drops containing the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine amide (NACA or sometimes AD4) they can slow, prevent, or even cure cataracts without surgery.
The advantage of NACA is that it can pass cellular membranes at lower concentrations so it can potentially be used at lower doses than related compounds, which can decrease the risk of side effects and make dosing easier and more convenient. The compound’s antioxidant power comes from glutathione, the primary cellular antioxidant, recognized by Dr. Oz among others for its potentially therapeutic power.
Previous research on NACA compound by members of this team has contributed to the development of a promising Alzheimer’s treatment, which is being evaluated but has not yet been approved.
To test the impact of NACA on cataracts, the researchers exposed rats to L-buthionine-S,R,-sulfoximide, a compound that causes cataracts to form. Rats given the BSO formed cataracts, but rats given both the BSO and NACA did not form cataracts. Researchers hope that with the help of a three-year grant from the National Eye Institute, they can further develop the work to establish an appropriate dosage and identify any possible side effects.
The use of this powerful antioxidant is one of many promising avenues of research for cataract prevention and cure, but until these are realized, cataract surgery remains the only treatment available.
If you are suffering from cataracts and want to learn more about the most advanced treatment options available, please contact a local eye doctor today for a consultation.