Navigation Links
How our vision dims: Chemists crack the code of cataract creation

Irvine, Calif., Dec. 5, 2013 Groundbreaking new findings by UC Irvine and German chemists about how cataracts form could be used to help prevent the world's leading cause of blindness, which currently affects nearly 20 million people worldwide.

"That's the dream, and this is a big step," said Rachel Martin, UC Irvine associate professor of chemistry and co-author of a paper featured on the December cover of the journal Structure. "Understanding the molecular mechanism of what goes wrong in the eye that leads to a cataract could lead to the development of better treatment options, including more sophisticated artificial lenses and drugs."

It has long been known that human eyes have a powerful ability to focus because of three kinds of crystallin proteins in their lenses, maintaining transparency via a delicate balance of both repelling and attracting light. Two types of crystallin are structural, but the third dubbed a "chaperone" keeps the others from clumping into cataracts if they're modified by genetic mutation, ultraviolet light or chemical damage.

The UC Irvine team painstakingly explored and identified the structures of the normal proteins and a genetic mutation known to cause cataracts in young children. They found that the chaperone proteins bind far more strongly to the mutated proteins in an effort to keep the lens clear. One major problem: Every human eye contains a finite number of the helpful proteins. Once they're used up, the researchers learned, weakened ones quickly begin to aggregate and form blinding cataracts.

Now that this mechanism has been mapped at the molecular level, the team is hopeful that organic chemists can create sight-saving treatments to prevent such aggregation.

While people with adequate medical care can have corrective surgery for cataracts, the World Health Organization has found that millions suffer major vision loss because they do not have access to laser surgery or other options. By 2019, the number of people older than 50 with impaired sight is expected to grow even higher, particularly in China, India, Southeast Asia and Eastern Mediterranean nations.


Contact: Janet Wilson
University of California - Irvine

Related medicine news :

1. Generation Next Film/Television, Journalism and Social Media Competition Deadline Extended to December 13, 2013
2. PowerSteering Recognized as a “Visionary” for Third Straight Year in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Integrated IT Portfolio Analysis Applications
3. Bilateral Biomet Hip Implants Cause Maryland Man Severe Pain, Elevated Metal Ion Levels, and Revision Surgeries, Alleges Lawsuit Filed by Parker Waichman LLP
4. Katie Johnson and Others Spoke About the Role of Children's Vision in Learning and Development at the 37th Annual WAEYC Fall Conference in Seatac, Washington in November
5. Horizon Healthcare, Inc. of Wisconsin Undertakes Bond Offering for its American Telehealthcare Division
6. Sam Rizk, MD, FACS, Top Revision Rhinoplasty Surgeon in Manhattan
7. Garden City Optometrist Dr. Steven Schoenbart Celebrates 25 Years in the Public Eye and the Treatment of Low Vision Patients
8. Global Vision Enters the Russian Market
9. NewsWatch Recently Featured the “Air Ace” Mobile Game Application on National Television
10. NewsWatch Airing on National Television, Thursday, November 21st
11. For many older adults, vision prescription differs between eyes
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether ... latter, setting the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, ... their goal. , Research from reveals that behind the tendency ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone ... physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If ... at my other children and say he was going to kill them. If we ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited ... To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. ... highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Living, is proud to recognize Dr. Barry M. Weintraub as a prominent plastic ... most beautiful women in the world, and the most handsome men, look naturally ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Venture Construction Group (VCG) ... held on June 20th at the Woodmont Country Club at 1201 Rockville Pike, ... organization dedicated to helping service members that have been wounded in battle and their ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Revolutionary technology includes multi-speaker ... , industry leaders in advanced audiology and hearing aid ... Opn ™, the world,s first internet connected hearing aid ... devices.      (Photo: ) ... of ,world firsts,: , TwinLink™ - the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... "Surgical Procedure Volumes: Global Analysis (United States, China, ... Canada)" report to their offering. ... essential tool for healthcare business planners, provides surgical procedure ... at surgery trends with an in-depth analysis of growth ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) today announced ... research organization as its newest member.  ... president and chief scientific officer, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, will ... Board of Directors. ... us in support of our efforts to conduct ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: