Are Eye Drops a Treatment Option for Cataracts? By Monterey County Eye Associates on September 13, 2022

an elderly person’s eyeCataracts interfere with vision, causing things to look blurry or cloudy. For many people with cataracts, not being able to see clearly during daily activities, like reading and driving, can be difficult or even dangerous. 

Today, the standard of care for treating cataracts is surgical intervention but with advances in medicine, there may come a time when eye drops for cataracts will be an effective treatment. Servicing Monterey, CA, Salinas, and the King City areas the doctors of Monterey County Eye Associates would like to take a closer look at this topic and how cataract treatment may help you.

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eyes that can interfere with vision, usually causing things to look blurry or foggy. Cataracts develop in the eye’s lens as a result of a breakdown of proteins in the lens and is a natural part of the aging process.  

For most individuals who develop cataracts, vision problems begin after the age of 65. Although the aging process is one of the most common causes of cataracts, they can also develop after an injury at any age.   

Additionally, certain factors can increase the risk of cataracts, including:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun

Can Eye Drops Treat Cataracts? 

Currently there are no eye drops available to treat cataracts. The only effective treatment available is cataract surgery. However, this could change some day. 

Work is being done in the medical science community to find a method to treat cataracts with eye drops. One promising development is the use of a steroid naturally found in the body called lanosterol. 

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), a team of researchers found that when rabbit lenses with cataracts were placed in test tubes with lanosterol, the cataracts were reduced and the clarity of the lenses improved. 

Although more work is needed before lanosterol eye drops become the standard of treatment for cataracts, it is exciting that someday cataracts could be treated by simply using eye drops. 

Cataract Surgery Is the Only Treatment 

Cataract surgery is the only treatment to effectively remove cataracts and improve vision. During cataract surgery, the clouded lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens or IOL.

Patients should expect improved vision within 48 hours of surgery. Additionally, they will need to use antibiotic eye drops while the eyes heal. These eye drops also help provide relief to discomfort commonly felt during the initial recovery, such as dry eyes and eye irritation, as well as prevent infection. 

Patients should expect their IOL lens to last a lifetime. Most importantly, IOL lenses do not develop cataracts so patients should expect to remain free of cataracts in their treated eye for good. 

Schedule a Consultation

If you have cataracts or other issues with your vision, call (831) 375-5066 to schedule a consultation and learn more about your treatment options. 

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The team of doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates

Monterey County Eye Associates
Leland H. Rosenblum, MD - MBEC
Eric J. Del Piero, MD

Our team of ophthalmologists provides state-of-the-art eye care using the latest technology. They are proud to be affiliated with: 

  • AAO: American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • ABO: American Board of Ophthalmology

To schedule an appointment, please call us at one of our four ophthalmologist office locations in Monterey, Ryan Ranch, Salinas, and King City, or contact us online.

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