Academia Sinica scientists have been able to isolate the reaction explaining why a commonly used eye drop helps cataract sufferers.
A study by a research team showed that a remedy used for almost 60 years — eye drops containing pirenoxine (PRX) — was effective in reducing opacity in cataracts, the research institution said in a statement yesterday.
A cataract is cloudiness in the natural lens and often leads to visual impairment, especially among the elderly. The study found that PRX reduces opacity by binding to calcium and selenite, two minerals whose increased concentrations result in the loss of lens transparency.
“The finding not only gives scientific support to the use of PRX in cataract treatment, but it serves as a reference for biological studies,” said Wu Shih-hsiung (吳世雄), the team leader.
Taiwan has an estimated 120,000 cataract patients per year, and surgery is the most popular treatment for blurry vision, but the researchers said the study could pave the way for the further use of PRX as a bona fide treatment for the condition.
In Taiwan, PRX eye drops are available only through prescription, but in several Asian countries they are available over the counter.
The study was published on Dec. 7 last year in the online edition of Inorganic Chemistry, one of the journals published by the American Chemical Society.