New procedure "may stop blindness"

New procedure "may stop blindness"

A new procedure may be able to save the sight of children with eye cancer, experts have claimed.

Dr J William Harbour, an ophthalmologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, has been implanting radioactive discs in the eyes of children with a rare cancer in an attempt to save their sight and eyes.

According to the specialist, the process involves implanting a small disc, or plaque, which stays in the eye for three days before a second surgical procedure to remove it.

Dr Harbour explained: "Occasionally there will be a tumour that doesn"t respond to chemotherapy or is too large to treat with a laser or freezing treatment. That"s where this plaque treatment comes in. It gives us an option that may allow us to save the eyes of a young child."

Last week researchers from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, and the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, revealed that gene therapy may be able to treat children with the rare condition leber congenital amaurosis, which can cause blindness.

by Alexa Kaczka

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