Is There a Cure for Blindness On the Horizon?

by admin on January 23, 2013

According to an article written by the BBC (view article here), scientists have developed a treatment to restore vision in mice that were previously blind. Scientists developed the treatment by injecting specialized cells that form the basis for creating a new retina. Not long after the mice’s eyes were treated with the specialized “precursor” cells, they had developed new corneas, and their visions was at least partially restored from full blindness.

Blind Mice

As of right now, the procedure is just starting to be tried out on humans, by using stem cells to restore vision to those with Stargart’s disease. The procedure takes a while to work, but shows promising results in restoring vision to those who would otherwise be blind.

Can we permanently cure eye disease?

While there are a lot of promising treatments to cure blindness such as using computer chips to augment vision, or by using stem cells to help restore damaged parts of the eye, there haven’t been any developments towards curing less-threatening eye diseases such as Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism pose different challenges to researchers, as they can’t be cured by simply restoring cells or performing surgery. Most common vision problems occur from a very slight misshaping of the eye, leaving contact lenses and eyeglasses as the most practical way to treat the problem.

For now, the best way to prevent vision loss is by preventing UltraViolet damage through the use of sunglasses, and via supplementation with eye vitamins. Some contact lens brands such as Acuvue even provide a low level of protection from damaging radiation.

 

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