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Stem Cell Research Provides Hope for Curing Blindness

Saturday, February 1, 2014 @ 07:02 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

Stem cell research has been a hot topic for many years because despite what opposers have to say about objecting to the use of embryos, it has the potential to save many people and cure many diseases. It is thought to treat cancer, spinal cord injuries, ms, muscle damage, Parkinson’s disease, and more. It is also thought to be a future cure for blindness.

There are several eye diseases that cause vision loss and blindness, which at this point cannot be repaired. Macular degeneration is permanent and vision can’t be restored once it’s lost. A majority of eye care surgeries are simply to prevent further loss of vision and correct other problems like cloudy vision or astigmatisms. They can’t undo the damage once it’s done.

Stem cells are formed by taking cells from 4 to 5 day old human embryo and placing them in a culture dish. As they grow, they replicate into new cells. A stem cell line then develops. Once it matures it can be used in photoreceptor transplants. When the cones and rods in the eye are replaced, the sensitivity to color and light are restored.

This can truly change the future of eye surgeries. As of now, the only replacement operations being done rely solely on organ donations, but there are not enough organs compared to those who need them. Stem cells would make it possible for more people to undergo the surgery and enjoy regaining their vision. The future will tell how far stem cell research can go.

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