Stem cell contact lenses restoring sight

Stem cell contact lenses restoring sight

New contact lenses that make use of a person"s own stem cells have been helping to bring vision back to people with corneal disease.

According to a report in the journal Transplantation, scientists from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, have been able to take stem cells from three patients and grow them on contact lenses.

The contact lenses were inserted into the patients" eyes for three weeks and the stem cells moved off them to repair the corneas.

Improvements in sight were observed within weeks.

Patients do not need long stays in hospital or to find donors and there is no worry about the transplant being rejected, as it is made from their own cells.

Dr Nick Di Girolamo, a researcher, stated: "You don"t need any fancy equipment."

Last week, Technology Review reported how US start-up Eyenovations is working on developing contact lenses that can administer medication to eyes while worn.

The technology was begun by Daniel Kohane and Joseph Ciolino of the Children"s Hospital in Boston and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary respectively.

by Adrian Galbreth

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