Exposure to lead "may cure blindness"

Exposure to lead "may cure blindness"

Exposure to lead may help to prevent and even reverse blindness, according to a new study on mouse models.

According to Professor Donald Fox, from the University of Houston"s College of Optometry, his team"s findings suggest that a new drug that acts like lead could transform human embryonic retinal stem cells into neurons that would be transplanted into patients to treat retinal degenerations.

"We saw a novel change in the cellular composition of the retina in mice exposed to low levels of lead during gestation. The retina contained more cells in the rod vision pathway than normal or than we expected," he added.

The expert added that the new findings "directly relate" to the supernormal retinal electrophysiological changes seen in children, monkeys and rats with low-level gestational lead exposure.

It comes after new research presented at the Scientific Programme at the Joint Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Middle East-Africa Council of Ophthalmology stated that corneal inlays provide short-sighted people with an effective way of improving their vision.

by Adrian Galbreth

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