Researchers find a compound in the yellow spice can be used in eye drops to halt vision loss.
According to a new study, turmeric could offer hope to millions of people battling eye condition glaucoma.
According to researchers, they have found a derivative of the spice used in curry, curcumin that can be used in eye drops to halt vision loss.
Trials showed eye drops containing curcumin, responsible for turmeric's yellow colour, slashed the loss of crucial retinal cells in rats.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness and mainly involves loss of retinal ganglion cells, located near the surface of the retina.
The condition strikes 60 million people across the world, estimates suggest, and is most prevalent among the elderly.
While evidence already exists to show curcumin can protect retinal ganglion cells from dying off when taken as a tablet, the compound has poor solubility, meaning it does not dissolve easily and can take a long time to enter the bloodstream.
The new British study delved in to other ways of delivering curcumin, in hope of finding a more reliable method.
The research being done collaboratively by University College London and Imperial College London and published in Scientific Reports claim their findings, based on human cells and rats, pave the way for a more reliable method to deliver curcumin to patients.
Eye drops are the main treatment for glaucoma, according to the NHS. They all work by reducing the build-up of pressure in patients' eyes.
Delivering curcumin as eye drops increases the compound's solubility factor by almost 400,000 times.
And it localises the curcumin in the eyes instead of throughout the body, meaning it can get to work almost immediately.
According to lead author of the study Professor Francesca Cordeiro, the curcumin is an 'exciting' compound.
He also added, “We believe our findings could make a major contribution at helping the lives of people affected by these devastating diseases.”