The contact lens that can help the blind see again
Posted by keelynet on June 6, 2009
What a great discovery, now to make it available so many could benefit from it.
“The procedure uses a person’s own cells to heal damage to the cornea – the transparent outermost layer of the eye. It is carried out under local anaesthetic, with patients returning home within two hours of surgery, removing the need for expensive hospital stays. The three patients treated so far had very poor vision caused by corneal disease – the fourth most common form of blindness, affecting around 10million worldwide. It is caused by genetics, surgery, burns, infection or chemotherapy, and treatments usually include grafts and transplants and drugs such as steroids. The team from the University of New South Wales in Sydney harnessed the power of stem cells – ‘master cells’ with the ability to turn into other cell types. They removed small samples of stem cells from the eyes of two men and a woman with corneal disease and grew them on a contact lens. The stem cell-coated contacted lenses were then put into the patients’ eyes for around three weeks. During that time, the stem cells moved off the lenses and began to heal the damaged corneas, the journal Transplantation reports. Using a person’s own cells removes any need for donors and means the transplant will not be rejected. Researcher Dr Nick Di Girolamo said: ‘The procedure is totally simple and cheap. ‘Unlike other techniques, it requires no foreign human or animal products, only the patient’s own serum, and is completely non-invasive. ‘There’s no suturing, there is no major operation. You don’t need any fancy equipment.’ The contact lenses used in the operation are already widely used after eye surgery. The researchers hope the technique can be adapted for other parts of the eye, such as the retina, and even elsewhere in the body.” – Source
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