A truly life changing innovation

Cataract is the most common cause of blindness across the world and becomes much more common with age. Many people first notice changes to their night vision which gradually leads to blurry or hazy vision accompanied by changes to colour perception. If left untreated the cataract will continue to develop, eventually leading to total blindness. Cataracts are thought to be caused by the build-up of aggregates which are clumps of protein in the lens; these scatter light rather than allowing it to pass through, similar to what is observed with water droplets in clouds. Cataract surgery involves replacing the cloudy lens inside the eye with an artificial, plastic lens and is the most common operation performed in the developed world.

Edinburgh Biosciences have discovered that light of a specific wavelength can reverse the build-up of aggregates which cause the lens to become cloudy. Treatment with the novel Edinburgh Biosciences device involves focusing light onto the affected lens, thereby reducing opacity. Our device can also monitor changes in the lens by measuring the light emitted from the protein aggregates when excited with ultra-violet rays. This gives us information on the effectiveness of the light treatment.

A patient may be treated with the Edinburgh Biosciences device while seated in opticians offices on the high street, making treatment readily accessible and with no need for surgery or drugs. This will revolutionise the way cataract is treated across the world and it will be possible to provide treatment at a much earlier stage in cataract development, avoiding or delaying the need for surgery.