In Mexico, researchers are working on a biopharmaceutical made from a plant called Siempreviva to help patients with pterygium, an abnormal benign growth on the eye’s ocular surface. The growth affects the person’s vision and is irritating. Researchers believe it is linked to sun exposure since it is more common in countries near the equator.
Researchers looked into the plant as a potential remedy after a patient who had undergone three surgeries to remove and treat pterygium had it a fourth time and self-treated it with juice from the Siempreviva plant. The plant is a traditional medicine that people use to accelerate healing. After three years of study, researchers found that the plant does indeed decrease the growth of cells and can reverse or even eliminate the growth of the pterygium. Scientists hope to create eye drops or even a biomaterial based contact lens using the plant’s healing properties to help patients with pterygium.