A drug has been created which experts claim may be able to restore eyesight in people suffering from Leber"s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON).
The condition is hereditary and leads to patients with 20:20 vision generally losing the sight in one eye, before going fully blind within six months.
However, experts at Newcastle University claim that, in studies, severely affected patients who could not read letters on a chart reacted well to the drug Idebenone.
It resulted in a marked improvement in their vision, with 25 per cent of patients being able to read at least a single row of letters on the chart.
Professor Patrick Chinnery, a Wellcome Trust senior fellow in clinical science at Newcastle University, commented: "There may also be a case for offering Idebenone from the first moment that LHON is diagnosed - preferably before any symptoms are shown - and a further trial would ideally examine this."
LHON is thought to affect 2,000 people in the UK alone and 10,000 across the whole of Europe.
by Alexa Kaczka