Guest Author - Dean Ingalls
Research using stem cells continues to be a controversial issue. Controversial or not, stem cell therapy use continues and new developments using the therapy to reverse vision loss are reported regularly. Keeping up with new improvements for reversal of vision loss for a person dealing with a vision issue is important. The idea of regaining vision offers hope to a person who lives with a vision impairment or blindness.
Researchers have reported vision loss improvement from a study using stem cells. Two women with different types of macular degeneration were treated with stem cell therapy. The first subject was a woman aged 70 with the dry form of aged related macular degeneration. The second subject was a woman aged 50 with Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy.
The subjects were treated using 50,000 stem cells that were injected into one eye of each patient. The subjects were treated with eye therapy and followed for the next four months. During the four month, time patients received eye therapy and eye exams. The vision of the first subject was improved by ten letters on a macular degeneration eye chart. The second subject ability to see movement improved and patient was able to see and count fingers correctly during hand movement tests. Researchers reported patients showed no signs of rejection or other difficulties during the stem cell trial.
What is macular degeneration?
The macular is the central part of the eye’s retinal nerve and is responsible for clarity and detail of central vision. Macular degeneration essentially, is the blocking of vision from debris in the eye or collection of fluid from leakage of abnormal growth of the blood vessels around the central part of the eye.
What are the different types of macular degeneration?
The disease is classified as wet or dry macular degeneration. The Dry form of the disease occurs when central vision damaged occurs from debris called drusen. Drusen shows up as yellow spots in the eyes. The drusen is thought to be material from deteriorating tissue.
Wet macular degeneration occurs when new blood vessels abnormally develop under the retina. The blood vessels begin to leak blood and fluid that collects around the macular causing damage and vision loss.
What are the risk factors?
1. Senior citizens Ages 60 and above
4. Race - White females have the highest number of cases
What treatments are available?
1. Wet Macular Degeneration
a. Drug injections
b. Laser surgery
c. Photodynamic therapy
2. Dry macular degeneration
a. Vitamins containing high levels of specific types of antioxidants
b. Balanced diet containing dark green leafy vegetables
What are the symptoms?
1. The person may experience items such as blurriness, squiggle or wavy lines and blind spots.
2. The faces of people seem wavy.
3. Doorways look crooked.
4. Objects look closer or farther away than normal
Medical research offers a visually disabled individual the hope of regaining vision. Staying informed and up to date on medical breakthroughs should be on the list of things to do for the visually disabled.