Stem Cell Cornea Fix: Better Vision May Be In Your Own Eyes

"We put a lot of effort in developing, in checking several parts of the process of the construction, and to monitor each percentage of stem cell maintained in each part of the process during amplification," said Graziella Pellegrini, one of the authors of the study.

While it's still too early to be certain, this research suggests that someday it may be possible to use stem cells to treat other critical parts of the eye, such as the retina, said Potarazu.

"If the nerve cells are dead [and that's what's causing blindness], it's difficult to regenerate that," he said. "But where there is the potential for tissue that's on the brink of recovery, that's not all dead, then there's potential [to research stem cells]."

For Dr. Ivan Schwab, professor of opthamology at the University of California Davis School of Medicine, the possibilities broaden beyond the eyes.

"This could extend to internal organs, like the liver. We may learn techniques from this work that apply to liver bioengineering and regrowth. Very exciting times, for all physicians," said Schwab.

Although the procedure is still at the research stage, many experts said that this approach to blindness may someday save many patients' eyesight.

"Imagine how excited you'd be if you didn't have sight one day, and then within a matter of a few weeks or months, you had sight again," said Schwab. "It's very exciting. For an ophthalmologist, it really is as good as it gets."

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