A Revolutionary Treatment May Cure A Common Cause Of Blindness

"I feel so lucky to have been given my sight back."

Imagine being given the gift of sight again after losing your vision. A new scientific breakthrough may be able to do just that.

As reported by The Guardian, the London Project to Cure Blindness, a collaboration between Professor Pete Coffey of University College London and Professor Lyndon da Cruz, a retinal surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, have successfully treated two patients with advanced AMD, an age-related macular degeneration, which destroys the central vision.

After undergoing the procedure of an implanted "patch" of stem cells being placed over the damage at the back of the eye, Douglas Waters, 86, and Freda Waters, 60s, were able to see printed letters well enough to read again and could also recognize faces that once appeared as blurred grey.  

"At best [the woman] could read about one word a minute with magnification," Coffey told The Guardian about Freda's pre-surgery assessment. The results, he said, were astounding.

"She is now reading 80 words a minute and [the man] is reading 50," he reported.

The full results of the study, which included a total of 10 subjects who had the "wet" form of AMD, caused by sudden leakage from blood vessels in the eye that can destroy the macula, a key part of the retina, are published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

"In the months before the operation my sight was really poor and I couldn't see anything out of my right eye," Mr. Waters said told The Guardian. "After the surgery, my eyesight improved to the point where I can now read the newspaper and help my wife out with the gardening."

The revolutionary treatment could help upwards of 700,000 people in the UK within an estimated five years-time. If the treatment is used in the U.S., it could impact the more than 1.75 million individuals, 40 years and older, currently living with AMD.

(H/T: The Guardian)

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