Scientists are often seen as people who know an awful lot and do great work. Then how is it possible that I read so many stories of scientists who simply aren’t aware of the existence of highly effective medical treatments, or the many cases of people who got cured from “incurable diseases”? I can only come to the conclusion that these people choose to be blind and ignorant. This article states that maybe in the future cataracts can be cured with eye drops isntead of surgery, which is now the only option. The only option? Interesting. A few years ago we had an old dog with cataracts and we bought a bottle of eye drops on the Internet* and when we applied the drops our furry friend could see properly again within a week. No doubt his eyesight would have been completely cured if we could have applied the drops more often, but being a subborn dog he violently opposed the procedure.
We see cataracts as something that just happens when we age, but that’s not true. In the developing world there are many children with cataracts, caused by diseases which are caused by malnutrition and poor sanitation. Unfortunately under those circumstances eye drops aren’t an option and it’s great when these children can get the surgery. But that only solves the problem for the individuals. The real problem is that the disease happens in the first place.
200 years ago cataracts might have existed, but it was rare. Read any novel from that time and the stories are not filled with large numbers of old, blind people. In the absence of surgery that’s what you would expect. For yes, people also got old 200 years ago. The idea that hardly anyone made it past 50 is myth. People got old, but didn’t get the “typical old age diseases” that are epidemic now. Including cataracts.
The researchers tested their new treatment on two children who have cataracts because of a genetic mutation that is blamed for it. Genes are blamed for everything nowadays, but genes don’t dramatically change within just a few generations. That’s impossible, so all that talk about genetic causes of diseases is largely phantasy. But whatever the reason, the new treatment had some effect on dogs and the two children. Did the effect last? The article doesn’t say it. Nor does it say how much effect there was (was the cataract decreased by 1% of 50%?)
The scientists also admit that “these are very preliminary findings”. So what they are actually saying is that what they found doesn’t mean much at all and it’s likely that the research won’t lead to anything. That’s nothing new, for medical research very rarely leads to anything interesting. So for the time being there is the choice between surgery or the proven effective eye drops that can be bought at an Internet shop* for about $50. If I will be so unlucky to get cataracts I know what I will choose. What worked for our dog will work for me. I don’t need scientific proof for that.
(*I’m not in the habit of advertising on my blog, but there is always room for exceptions. The eye drops called Cataract Terminator can be bought at http://www.outoftheboxremedies.com/ Of course I have no financial interest in mentioning this.)