Touching Lives - September 2014
Revolutionary new surgery for cataracts
Although more commonly associated with older people, around 200 babies in the UK are born each year with cataracts and children can also develop them at a young age. The condition affects the eye’s lens, causing blurred or misty vision. Sadly, some may lose their sight entirely. Prompt surgery can help restore a child’s vision but currently their sight will often remain less than perfect. Children are also more susceptible to a post-surgery complication, like a secondary cataract, that can further impair their sight and require yet more intervention.
Based at the University of Aberdeen, an expert team is studying a new approach that they believe could revolutionise the treatment of cataracts, especially in children.
During current surgery the cataracts are removed and the lens is replaced with an artificial one, or the child will wear contact lenses or glasses to compensate for the removed lens. The problem is that artificial lenses cannot focus as well as natural ones, meaning children can still face a life of restricted vision.
With Action funding, the research team are developing a new technique which they believe could encourage the eye’s lens to grow back naturally after surgery – something that was previously thought impossible. This could greatly improve the sight of affected children and could eventually benefit older people with cataracts too.