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Innovation & Research: Restoring Vision in the Blind

18th August 2016

eye research

In the last decade, innovations in the restoration of sight in people who were previously blind are becoming more and more common showing the sheer progression of this life changing research. Another study just completed in California has reported unprecedented success in restoring broken links between retinal ganglion cells and various parts of the brain, in mice; another huge step forward in the field.

As reported on Medical News Today, the achievements in this study is a significant step forward in finding ways to restore or improve sight in people with glaucoma and eye injuries that affect the optic nerve. The researchers describe how they coaxed optic-nerve cables that carry vision information from the eye to the brain, to regenerate. They found the cables not only repaired themselves, but also re-traced the same routes they had before being severed.

With around 70 million people worldwide with glaucoma and no vision-restoring treatment yet available, this new development provides great hope for vision recovery in patients with Glaucoma and optic nerve damage in the future. Read more about this study.

Sight is now being restored for many people across the world and its only a matter of time before many more eye conditions are successfully treatable. Just in case you haven’t seen them, we wanted to share a couple of our favourite stories of people regaining their sight:

Rhian Lewis, pictured above, was fitted with a ‘bionic eye’ or retinal implant as part of an ongoing trial at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital and has spoken of her joy after she was able to tell the time for the first time in more than five years. Rhian has suffered from retinitis pigmentosa – an inherited disorder – since she was five and as a result is completely blind in her right eye and has virtually no vision in her left. The condition causes gradual deterioration of the light-detecting cells (photoreceptors) in the retina, which can lead to blindness.

Once fitted with the implant, Rhian realised she could tell that the time was three o’clock, and said “Oh my God! That felt like Christmas Day.” Describing the moment the device was turned on, Ms Lewis said: “They said I might not get any sensation and then all of a sudden within seconds there was this flashing in my eye, which has seen nothing for over 16 years, so it was like, oh wow!”

Another one of our favourite sight restoring stories is when four-month old Leo, who was born with oculocutaneous albinism which effects his hair, skin and eyesight gets to see his mother properly for the first time with a special pair of glasses. Watch the video below:

For more heart warming stories and videos of people seeing for the first time, click here.



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