A cataract in a human eye: image via wikipedia.orgChinese herbs and medicines have stood the test of time because they work. They are often not subjected to rigorous double-blind studies or other stringent examination that we have in the West - possibly because they are natural herbs or chemicals and no one is seeking to patent them.
But researchers at the Taipei Medical University in Taiwan have tested one of the tried-and-true non-prescription eye drops that are used in China and many other eastern and some western countries for the treatment of age-related cataracts - pirenoxine (PRX).
According to the World Health Organization, the number one cause of blindness in the world is age-related cataract, affecting about 18 million people. The lens of the eye clouds up with fluid that becomes darker and cloudier as it persists. This can be caused by UV light, oxidative chemical reaction, a rise in calcium levels in the lens, and glucose that comes from the diet - which is why cataracts are common among diabetics.
The Taipei Medical University researchers tested PRX on cloudy solutions that mimic the composition of cataracts in the lenses of people who are affected. The composition included crystalline combined with either calcium or selenite, two minerals that normally affect the cloudiness of lenses in persons affected.
The results showed that PRX was 38 percent effective at reducing the cloudiness of the calcium solution and 11 percent of the solution containing selenite solution. The researchers indicated that a variety of studies will be carried out, but that the results of the current PRX study should support PRX as an option, if not a precursor, to lens replacement surgery - which may not be available in many areas of the world or may not be affordable.
Sources: Daily Mail, ITM Online, Wikipedia