LONDON, April 29, 2005 ( – UK physicians are pioneering the use of adult stem cells to cure blindness resulting from a damaged cornea – so far, they have used the therapy to restore eyesight in 40 patients.

Opthalmic surgeon at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Sussex, Sheraz Daya, explained to the BBC that “Many people who’ve had injuries to their eyes, or even people born with congenital deficiencies of stem cells, land up having a problem with the top layer of their cornea.”

Although corneal transplants have been used to treat the condition for some time, “Even if we do a corneal transplant, that will not stay clear, it’ll cloud over and fail,” Dr. Daya said. “So what we need to do is replace those stem cells that are missing.”

Doctors use the patient’s own stem cells or those from a donor to re-grow the cornea – the transparent part that makes up the front surface of the eye.

See a related report, including testimony of a young mother whose sight was restored:



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