Six years later, the eyedrops, called C-KAD, are entering the final stages of clinical testing. If all goes well, they will hit pharmacy shelves in two years, becoming the first non-surgical treatment. “Nobody, including myself, would have looked at this and thought it would work,” says Randall Olson, chairman of the department of ophthalmology at the University of Utah School of Medicine and scientific adviser for Bhushan’s company, Chakshu Research. “But during trials, I’ve seen cataracts disappear.” Even better, the drops might also relieve the blinding symptoms of glaucoma and macular degeneration.
If Bhushan’s guinea-pig dad is any indication, the drops could slash the three million cataract surgeries performed every year in the U.S. After three months of daily drops, his vision had improved to 20/80—good enough to read his e-mail for the first time in a year.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.