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What is Cataracts in Dogs?

dog mature immature cataract eyesA cataract is an opacity in the lens of a dog’s eye, causing him to have blurry vision. If the cataract is small, it won’t likely disturb the dog’s vision too much, but cataracts must be monitored because the thicker and denser they become, the more likely it is they will lead to blindness.

Cataracts can develop from disease, old age and trauma to the eye, but inherited conditions are the most common cause. Cataracts may be present at birth or develop when a dog is very young-between one and three years of age. A high-incidence of cataracts is also often attributed to diabetes.

There are few types of cataracts in dogs. An immature cataract clouds a greater portion of the lens and can cause some blurred vision. Over time, the entire lens can cloud up and all vision is lost. When this happens, it is known as a mature cataract.

Most cases of cataracts are inherited. For instance, Miniature poodles, American cocker spaniel, miniature schnauzer, golden retrievers, Boston terriers, and Siberian huskies are all predisposed to cataracts.

An untreated cataract may “luxate” or slip from the tissue that holds it in place, freeing it to float around in the eye where it may settle and block natural fluid drainage. This can lead to glaucoma, which can cause permanent blindness. Cataracts may also begin to dissolve after some time, causing deep, painful inflammation in the eye.


Brian C. Gilger, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVO. Dipl. ABT
Professor of Ophthalmology, College of Veterinary MedicineNorth Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

David L. Williams, MA VetMB PhD CertVOphthal MRCVS
St. John’s College, Cambridge. The effect of a topical antioxidant formulation including N-acetyl carnosine on canine cataract: a preliminary study. Veterinary Ophthalmology 2006;9:311-316.

Davidson MG, Nelms SR,
“Diseases of the Canine Lens and Cataract Formation” In: Gelatt KN, Gilger BC,Kern TJ, eds. Veterinary Ophthalmology. 5 ed. Ames: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2013;1199-1233.

Kidd PM.
“Bioavailability and activity of phytosome complexes from botanical polyphenols: the silymarin, curcumin, green tea, and grape seed extracts”. Altern Med Rev 2009;14:226-246.

The ‘lanosterol eye drops’ that claim to dissolve cataracts have appeared

A study released in July 2015 shows that lanosterol, a natural chemical produced in our bodies, can effectively uncloud cataracts. To date, there have been no medicines known to cure cataracts, and as such, a surgical procedure to remove the opacified lens and replace it with an artificial lens has been the only available option to correct the problem. However, if cataracts could be cured with simple eye drops such as ‘lanosterol eye drops,’ that would greatly reduce the need for cataract surgery to treat the condition. Therefore, there has been a great deal of interest in the findings of the study in the ophthalmological field worldwide.

Dr. Kang Zhang, Professor of Ophthalmology and Chief of Ophthalmic Genetics at UC San Diego, and his research team have found that the organic compound called lanosterol can dissolve protein blocks that cause cataracts and destroy lens opacity. They published their findings in Nature magazine on July 22, 2015.

Their work began with the cases of three children who had a severe cataract condition that ran in the children’s family. The scientists sequenced the children’s genomes and identified a genetic mutation that interfered with the production of lanosterol, a naturally occurring steroid in the body. In addition, the researchers found that lanosterol is used in the body to synthesize cholesterol and several steroid hormones, but the crystalline lens of the eye also contains an abundance of this substance. That clue led them to the decision to test whether lanosterol might have the ability to prevent or even eliminate cataracts.

They first removed the lenses of 13 cataracted rabbits and immersed the lenses in a 25 mM lanosterol solution followed by an incubation period of 6 days. At the end of the 6-day experiment, transparency was significantly improved in the rabbits’ lenses.

The team then moved on to dogs, using a group of seven dogs who were suffering from age-related cataracts. They injected the lanosterol solution directly into the vitreous body of the eyes, then administered the lanosterol solution via eye drops three times a day for six weeks. The results were impressive: cataracts on three of the dogs completely disappeared, and there was a noticeable decrease in the opacity of the lenses on the remaining four dogs.

dog mature immature cataract eyes

However, a lanosterol solution used only in the form of eye drops will not cure cataracts without the injection

Immediately after Zhang’s research team published the paper, there was suspicion raised as to whether or not lanosterol in the form of eye drops alone can cure cataracts. Because lanosterol has extremely low solubility, it is not easy for the lanosterol molecules in eye drops to reach the crystalline lens. In fact, in the experiments on the seven dogs, Zhang’s team had to anesthetize all of dogs and inject the lanosterol solution directly into the vitreous body of the eyes in addition to administering the lanosterol eye drops.

A paper supporting this suspicion was published with a title of “Effect of lanosterol on human cataract nucleus” by C. K. Minija’s research team in December 2015, five months after the publication of the Zhang team’s Nature paper. The conclusion of Minija’s paper was that the lanosterol solution was not effective for the treatment of human cataractous nuclei when the laboratory test was performed using simulation experiments based on the Nature paper published in July 2015.

The team immersed the human lens nuclei extracted during cataract surgery in the same 25 mM lanosterol solution as used in the Zhang team’s research and incubated them for 6 days. At the end of the 6-day experiment, the transparency of the human lens nuclei immersed in the lanosterol solution was not improved at all.

Since the lens nucleus is free of the lens coat, the effect of lanosterol on cataract removal was expected to be much stronger. However, contrary to this expectation, the treatment effect of lanosterol in the rabbit and dog lenses as shown in Zhang’s research did not appear at all in the human lens. This means that the lanosterol solution used by Zhang’s and Minija’s teams could not deliver the lanosterol molecules it contained into the human lens.

This pessimal experimental result is due to the extremely low chemical solubility of lanosterol and its extremely low permeability within the body tissues. Even with liposomes, nanoparticles, or dextrin-based carriers, it is still difficult to overcome these limitations. Therefore, in a non-laboratory setting, it is practically impossible to dissolve cataracts only through the administration of lanosterol eye drops to animals or humans with cataracts. This is because the lanosterol molecules contained in the lanosterol eye drops must pass through additional barriers, such as the cornea, anterior, iris, and pupil, just to reach the outer surface of the crystalline lens alone, not to mention the inside of the lens.

It is clear what the experimental results of both Zhang’s and Minija’s teams mean; while lanosterol is certainly related directly to the treatment of cataracts, the simple lanosterol solution as used by both the research teams has a limitation in transferring the lanosterol molecules into the crystalline lens. Hence, simple lanosterol eye drops alone cannot deliver the lanosterol molecules into the lens, which is why Zhang’s team injected the lanosterol solution directly into the vitreous body of the eyes after anesthetizing the seven dogs. In conclusion, the simple lanosterol solution as used by Zhang’s and Minija’s teams cannot be expected to have any cataract treatment effect when used solely in the form of eye drops. The drops must be used in conjunction with injections.


Lanomax® can cure cataracts in the form of eye drops alone; no injections are necessary

Lanomax® uses an innovative drug delivery system built on the latest advanced nanotechnology, called ThruDelivery™, to deliver lanosterol molecules into the crystalline lens without an injection. This system separates the lanosterol molecules from the carriers in the carrier-lanosterol complex attached to the corneal surface, and then quickly passes them through the cornea, anterior, iris and pupil to deliver them into the crystalline lens. It is because of this ThruDelivery™ system that Lanomax® is the only eye drop on the planet to show a real therapeutic effect on cataracts.

We discovered this ThruDelivery™ system by fortuitous chance in the winter of 2015, and have decided not to disclose its secrets to the world by way of patents or articles. It’s like Coca-Cola’s manufacturing know-how. Currently, this amazing lanosterol delivery system is only found in Lanomax® eye drops. However, please be advised that we cannot inadvertently include information about this system in the ingredients table of Lanomax®.

Lanomax® has an excellent therapeutic effect on incipient, immature, and mature cataracts

The therapeutic effect of Lanomax® varies greatly depending on the type of cataract and the degree of progression of the cataract. Generally, in the case of incipient, immature, and mature cataracts, if you administer two vials of Lanomax® eye drops to one eye for six weeks, you will see visible improvements compared to the untreated eye. Sometimes there are dramatic cases where a visible effect is even noticed within a short period of 1-2 weeks after beginning to administer Lanomax®. Read reviews from customers who have had such dramatic experiences here.

However, in the case of hypermature cataracts, it is difficult to expect a dramatic treatment effect in a short period of time. In very severe conditions such as complete loss of vision, cataract complications, or cataracts combined with other eye diseases such as glaucoma, the therapeutic effects of Lanomax® are unlikely to be sufficient. At this point, you may need to consider surgery.

However, even if Lanomax® does not bring dramatic therapeutic effects to the hypermature cataracts in the short term, it is possible that some improvements are going on very slowly in the pet’s eyes. If you see something that you could not see in your pet before the treatment (e.g., your pet’s pupil that completely lost sight reacts to the light, your pet looks around more frequently, your pet is no longer bumping into furniture, or your pet is more active spending more time wandering around the house than before treatment began), this could be evidence that the hypermature cataract is being treated. Read the reviews related to these cases here. If your pet has a hypermature stage cataract, but for some reason surgery is not an option, Lanomax® may help improve your pet’s quality of life.

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