In a landmark breakthrough in cataract treatment, researchers have managed to regenerate a living lens through using patients’ own stem cells to restore the vision.
A group of researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and Shiley Eye Institute along with scientists from the Sun Yat-sen University in China devised the method and successfully reversed blindness in 12 infants born with congenital cataracts. The collective published their findings in the journal Nature on Wednesday.
Cataract, a slow progressing malfunction in the lens of the eye, happens when the lens loses transparency and turns cloudy, which leads to a decrease in vision. The most common causes of cataract are age, trauma, radiation, and genetics. About half of the total number of blindness in the world and about a third of any kinds of visual impairment worldwide are caused by the disease.
In the conventional treatment, the impaired lens is replaced with an intraocular one, which could lead to infections, inflammation, and a night time halo effect in vision, particularly in children.