Castor oil heals the cataract

Eye drops dissolve cloudiness

In the human lens these can be divided into several families: α-, β- and γ-crystallins. Together, these make up 90 percent of soluble proteins. Crystallines are transparent, extremely stable and combine to form a highly ordered macrostructure, thus ensuring a relatively constant refractive index.

Since the differentiated cells of the lens no longer have cell organelles and can therefore not produce any proteins, the crystalline cells are retained for a lifetime. Preserving the function and structure of these proteins is critical to vision. There are therefore mechanisms in the eye that protect the lens cells from harmful influences.

Damaged crystalline

In patients with cataracts there is a progressive denaturation of the crystalline in spite of these protective mechanisms. Damaged βγ-crystalline are bound and dissolved by α-crystalline. If the damage is too severe, complexes of α- and bound βγ-crystallines arise, which precipitate and cloud the lens. In patients with congenital cataracts, mutations in certain genes responsible for these processes - formation and maintenance of the crystalline - lead to an early clouding of the lens. Researchers led by Ling Zhao from Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, and colleagues from the University of California (UC) San Diego have discovered a mutation in a gene that is involved in the synthesis of lanosterol as the cause of the disease in two families with congenital cataracts is. The amphipathic molecule is a steroid that is found in high concentrations in the lens. It seems to prevent the aggregation of the lens proteins there, write the researchers in "Nature" (DOI: 10.1038 / nature14650).