Written by Michael Vu
In 2010, the number of Americans diagnosed with some form of cataracts exceeded 20 million. On an even larger scale, in 2010, nearly 20 million people have been reported to be blind due to cataracts. But what are cataracts? In short, cataracts involve protein buildup within the lens of the eyes. These symptoms cloud your vision, causing a decrease in your retina’s exposure to light, and may ultimately lead to some form of vision loss. A common diagnosis with great consequences, it is also important to understand the many causes behind cataracts. The most common cause of cataracts is aging, with nearly 50% of all seniors above 75 years of age having some level of cataracts. Congenital cataracts, another type, can stem from genetics, medical conditions such as diabetes, or even substance abuse [1,4].
In regards to cataract treatment, there have been two traditional ways of addressing such a diagnosis. If protein buildup within the eye is benign, corrective lenses may be prescribed to help focus the light towards the retina, thereby bypassing some of the detrimental effects of the cloudy eye lens. However, if protein buildup is severe, corrective lenses may not be enough to alleviate visual impairment.. Instead, cataract surgery may be required. As scary as surgeries seem, the idea behind the process is simple. During cataract surgery, the protein buildup is removed through ultrasound, lasers, or incisions, and then an artificial intraocular lens will be implanted to help refocus any incoming light towards the retina. However, with any given surgery there are risks, depending on the type of surgery .
However, in light of the many medical advancements within the past couple of years, there is now another cataract treatment option; Can-C. Originally developed in Russia by Dr. Babizhayev, Can-C eye drops have taken the medical community by storm. The labels on each bottle claim that solution can reduce, reverse, and slow the development of cataracts. As good as this sounds, many patients are concerned with what exactly is being put in their eye. However, they can rest easy knowing that the solution is just N-acetylcarnosine, which is a natural antioxidant that supposedly counteracts any protein buildup effects. Furthermore, in regards to availability and accessibility, these Can-C drops can actually be purchased from many major online retailers for less than one hundred dollars. It is important to note, however, that these drops have not been approved by the FSDA, and so although ophthalmologists may introduce Can-C to patients, if Can-C drops were to be administered, it would be at the patient’s risk and consent .
Looking towards the future, if Can-C drops someday become approved by the FSDA, there will be a drastic shift within the ophthalmology community. If these drops prove to be safer and more effective than cataract surgery, they may become the go-to solution, rendering cataracts easily treatable and preventable.
1. Klein, B. E., and R. Klein. "Cataracts And Macular Degeneration In Older Americans". Archives of Ophthalmology 100.4 (1982): 571-573. Web. 19 May 2017.
2. "Cataract Surgery: What You Can Expect - Mayo Clinic". Mayo Clinic. N. p., 2017. Web. 19 May 2017.
3. "Cataracts Drops, Carnosine Drops, Can C Eye Drops Senile Cataract". Can-c.net. N. p., 2017. Web. 19 May 2017.
4. HILLER, RITA, ROBERT D. SPERDUTO, and FRED EDERER. "EPIDEMIOLOGIC ASSOCIATIONS WITH NUCLEAR, CORTICAL, AND POSTERIOR SUBCAPSULAR CATARACTS". American Journal of Epidemiology 124.6 (1986): 916-925. Web. 19 May 2017.