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. Space-age probe may help save eyesight

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Washington (UPI) Jan 9, 2009
U.S. researchers say a compact fiber-optic probe developed by NASA is being used successfully as a non-invasive early detection device for cataracts.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration worked with the National Eye Institute to develop the test, which measures a protein related to cataract formation.

"By the time the eye's lens appears cloudy from a cataract, it is too late to reverse or medically treat this process," lead author Dr. Manuel B. Datiles III of NEI said Friday in a release. "This technology can detect the earliest damage to lens proteins, triggering an early warning for cataract formation and blindness."

The device, based on a laser light technique called dynamic light scattering, was developed by NASA to analyze the growth of protein crystals in a zero-gravity space environment.

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