Non-invasive bleaching of the human lens by femtosecond laser photolysis

Research output: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2010

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Background: Globally, cataract is the leading cause of blindness and impaired vision. Cataract surgery is an attractive treatment option but it remains unavailable in sufficient quantity for the vast majority of the world population living in areas without access to specialized health care. Reducing blindness from cataract requires solutions that can be applied outside operating theatres. Cataract is a protein conformational disease characterized by accumulation of light absorbing, fluorescent and scattering protein aggregates. The aim of the study was to investigate whether these compounds were susceptible to photobleaching by a non-invasive procedure and whether this would lead to optical rejuvenation of the lens. Methodology/Principal Findings: Nine human donor lenses were treated with an 800 nm infra-red femtosecond pulsed laser in a treatment zone measuring 1 x 1 x 0.52 mm. After laser treatment the age-induced yellow discoloration of the lens was markedly reduced and the transmission of light was increased corresponding to an optical rejuvenation of 3 to 7 years. Conclusions/Significance: The results demonstrate that the age-induced yellowing of the human lens can be bleached by a non-invasive procedure based on femtosecond laser photolysis. Cataract is a disease associated with old age. At the current technological stage, lens aging is delayed but with a treatment covering the entire lens volume complete optical rejuvenation is expected. Thus, femtosecond photolysis has the potential clinical value of replacing invasive cataract surgery by a non-invasive treatment modality that can be placed in mobile units, thus breaking down many of the barriers impeding access to treatment in remote and poor regions of the world.
Original languageEnglish
JournalP L o S One
Volume5
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)e9711
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

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CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 8
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