Ribonucleic acid (RNA) granules help in eye development and a lack of them can lead to juvenile cataracts, a study has suggested.
This discovery was made by researchers from Jackson Laboratory in Maine, US, working in collaboration with scientists at Brigham and Women"s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
RNA granules regulate mRNAs, which carry DNA-encoded information from the nucleus into the body of the cell.
If these granules are missing, messages are not transmitted properly and the development of the eye lens can be effected.
Dr Salil Lachke, of Brigham and Women"s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said: "This is a good example of a 21st century collaboration, with major contributions by multiple groups, including basic and clinical researchers across multiple continents."
According to the NHS, childhood cataracts are very rare, affecting around only three in 10,000 children in the UK.
The surgical procedure to remove a cataract usually lasts between 30 to 45 minutes and improves vision almost immediately.
by Adrian Galbreth