New Trial Aims to Cure Blindness

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Estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that there are 285 million people worldwide who are visually impaired, and 39 million of them are blind.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the third leading cause of blindness, after cataract and glaucoma. It is usually unavoidable since ageing is the main risk factor, but it can also be the effect of cigarette smoking, arterial hypertension, exposure to UV rays, unhealthy diet, and genetic tendencies. People with light-colored eyes are more prone to this disease.

There hasn’t been any treatment for AMD, although there are procedures that can slow its progress like the use of drugs, lasers, and in some cases, surgery.

Fergus Walsh, medical correspondent of BBC News recently reported a new trial aims to cure blindness – through a stem cell procedure:

Stem cell trial aims to cure blindness

Surgeons in London have carried out a pioneering human embryonic stem cell operation in an ongoing trial to find a cure for blindness for many patients.

The procedure was performed on a woman aged 60 at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

It involved “seeding” a tiny patch with specialized eye cells and implanting it at the back of the retina. Read more…

Stem cell procedure costs a lot, and although this trial aims to cure blindness, some people may not be able to afford it. Hopefully, there will be cheaper procedures in the future.

As I’ve mentioned, unhealthy diet and cigarette smoking are among the risk factors, which means AMD can be prevented. The usual healthy, balanced diet with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables are highly recommended, and cigarette smoking or exposure to it should be avoided.

Image Credit: Stem cell trial aims to cure blindness – BBC News

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