25.11.2008

Retina cells "can grow back"

Retina cells "can grow back"

Damaged retinal cells in human eyes could be regenerated, according to a new report.

Scientists at the University of Washington (UV) have said these cells could be stimulated into regrowing their inner nerve cells, effectively mending themselves and improving eyesight.

The retina is found at the back of the eyeball and converts light into nerve impulses to the brain, enabling people to see.

UV has published its research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr Tom Reh, lead investigator, said: "This type of cell exists in all the retinas of all vertebrates, so the cellular source for regeneration is present in the human retina."

He went on to say further research into mammalian retinal regeneration could lead to new treatments for vision loss, including for conditions such as macular degeneration, where the retina deteriorates over time.

The macula is located towards the back of the eye and is responsible for the central part of human vision.

by Martin Burns


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