Stem cell therapy is now being used to restore the eyesight of patients with macular degeneration. Before the procedure, both patients were losing their eyesight, now they're able to see again.
The revolutionary procedure is still not available to the public, but the results speak for themselves.
Stem Cell Therapy
Scientists in the U.K. may have just come up with a procedure that can treat the most common cause of blindness, age-related macular degeneration. Stem cell therapy could be available to everyone in the next five years. This treatment has already helped two patients regain their eyesight. Results of the story were posted in Nature.
Both patients had age-related macular degeneration — this destroys people's central vision. Prior to the procedure, neither one of the patients was able to be able to read a book, now they're able to read again.
Stem cells were put over the damage at the back of the eye. Scientists behind the procedure hope that this treatment will become common as a treatment for macular degeneration. Just over 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from macular degeneration.
The people behind the procedure are professor Pete Coffey of University College London and professor Lyndon da Cruz, a surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital. Both worked for the London Project to Cure Blindness for the treatment.
The two patients are a man in his 80s and a woman in her 60s. Both patients received the procedure because of the severity of their age-related macular degeneration — both would have gone blind within six weeks if the operation had not taken place.
Douglas Waters, 86, who received the treatment, reported having regained the ability to read the newspaper again. Before the treatment, he wasn't able to see things — even if they were up close — and his vision had completely deteriorated.
Doctors hope to complete the procedure one more time to ensure its safety.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is a degenerative disease that causes a gradual loss of central vision. It is the most common cause of blindness in people over the age of 55 in developed countries.
This disease affects older white Americans more than any other group. Numbers begin to spike after the age of 70, where more than 2 percent of white Americans suffer from the disease. This balloons up to 14 percent of white Americans over the age of 80. Other groups are affected by age-related macular degeneration, but not with the same severity.