Stem cells that have been grown on contact lenses could be a cure for a common cause of blindness, claim scientists. Australian researchers said that this breakthrough could “dramatically improve” the vision of patients with damage to their cornea, the clear front surface of the eye, caused by disease or injury.
The research team removed tissue with regenerative stem cells from patients’ own eyes and then proliferated these cells in the laboratory on the surface of a contact lens. This lens was then placed back onto the damaged cornea for 10 days, during which the cells were able to recolonize and “patch” the damaged eye surface.
Within weeks the patients saw dramatic improvements in their vision. Of course more research is needed, but if early findings bear out then this treatment could be effective for thousands of patients.
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