Theoretical and experimental basis for the inhibition of cataract

Prog Retin Eye Res. 1999 May;18(3):391-402. doi: 10.1016/s1350-9462(98)00023-8.


Aggregation of the lens proteins to form high molecular weight clusters is a major contributing factor in age-onset nuclear cataract [Benedek, G. B. (1971) Theory of transparency of the eye. Appl. Optics, 10, 459-473]. This aggregation occurs continually throughout life and contributes to an exponential increase, as a function of age, in the intensity of the light backscattered out of the lens. The time constant deltaT for this exponential increase in human populations is a valuable index, helpful for conducting clinical trials. In-vitro studies have identified reagents capable of inhibiting high molecular weight aggregate formation, as well as the non-covalent interprotein interactions responsible for phase separation. These reagents are also found experimentally to be effective cataract inhibitors in animal model systems in vivo. We believe that the stage is now set for human clinical trials of putative cataract inhibitors. We present rough quantitative estimates of the trial parameters needed to assure an unambiguous determination of efficacy in a trial population. Such a trial simply requires a measurement of the time constant deltaT in the treated population relative to the untreated population. A successful outcome of the trial is indicated if deltaT increases by 20% over that found for the untreated population. Our estimates suggest efficacy could be determined in a two year trial involving about 300 subjects in the treated group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cataract / physiopathology
  • Cataract / prevention & control*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Models, Biological*
  • Scattering, Radiation