According to the World Health Organization, cataract is the leading cause of blindness, with over 20 million people affected in 2010. While age is the leading cause, younger people can develop cataract through eye disease or injury.
Current treatment for cataracts is simple: the clouded lens is removed, and a new, artificial intraocular lens is inserted. After the surgery, cells migrate onto the new lens, making it cloudy. A followup procedure uses an Nd:YAG laser to remove the migrated cells. Unfortunately, these laser procedures are expensive and available to less than 1% of the world’s population. In 2012 alone, Medicare reimbursed more than $350 million for laser capsulotomy surgeries.