A promising and effective new form of technology, which was originally developed by a NASA senior scientist, may point to the future of cataract detection. The low-powered laser device was first intended to help astronauts with experiments that involve growing crystals in space. However, when the scientist’s own father developed cataracts that required surgery, his son thought about applying the technology toward determining when eyes become vulnerable to developing cataracts. The laser device detects alphacrystallin proteins in the eye, which are responsible for maintaining eyelens transparency. When levels of alpha-crystallin decrease, eye lenses begin to cloud up. By using the NASA-inspired device to check levels of the protein, ophthalmologists hope to someday offer patients insight into their cataract vulnerability. A cataract can occur in either or both eyes. It cannot spread from one eye to the other.
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