University of Sheffield researchers have developed a contact lens implant that could potentially help millions of blind people across the world to retain or or even regenerate their vision.
Scientists hope that a new biodegradable eye implant loaded with autologous stem cells will naturally multiply thus allowing your body to heal its vision naturally. Autologous adult Stem cells are the building blocks of all human tissue growth. Stem cells have the capability to transform into virtually any other type of tissue or cell in the human body. The ground breaking technology was initially designed to help treat damaged corneas.
Corneal Damage is a Leading Reason for Vision Loss
Corneal damage often occurs due to injuries on the outermost surface of the eyes usually from damage such as infections,eye surgeries, hereditary corneal defects or even inflammation from having chronic dry eyes. Symptoms of eye being damaged include tearing,light sensitivity,eye pain or blurred vision.
The new stem cell contact implants work effectively by converting/mimicking the structural functionality of the eyes. Doctors have also developed a new way of producing the delicate membranes on the eyes to help better graft the helper stem cells onto the patients eyes, by using a complex protocol that allows the researchers to make a new disc out of biodegradable materials that can be temporarily affixed over the blind patients cornea. The stem cells discs are loaded autologous stem cells that naturally tend to multiply and regenerate allowing your healing system to fix the damaged eyes gradually.
Currently the standard treatments for someone with corneal blindness includes implanting donated corneal transplant membranes. Clinical studies have shown that the stem cell vision treatment are not perfect and can fail after just a few years due to lack of retention of the implanted autologous stem cells on the cornea. A vital feature of the new stem cell contact lenses is that they contains many small pockets to protect and house the optical stem cells allowing them to remain grouped in the eyes longer.