Curing Blindness: One Step Closer
Researchers see promise in chemical injection treatment.
A team of researchers from UC Berkeley are one step closer to finding a cure for the blind.
It's the first breakthrough in treating blindness in mice and a big jump in curing blind humans in the future.
The study found a temporary return of vision to blind mice by injecting an ammonium chemical.
The chemical increases the sensitivity of light to the eyes which allowed the mice to see.
â€œItâ€™s the first sign that we can inject a chemical into the eye that will reverse the damage done to cell photo receptors which causes blindness,â€ said Scripps Health's Dr. Sanford Feldman.
The ability to inject chemicals to cure blindness is a greater step than previous research that has been more permanent, such as gene therapy.
â€œWhen the chemicals are gone, they are gone. So, if it causes a problem, you stop taking the treatment and it turns off. This will also allow us to control the dosage, giving more to those with greater degeneration,â€ said Feldman.
With over 3 million people affected from visual impairments, this step could be a way for Feldman to finally help the blind patients he never could help before.
â€œItâ€™s frustrating for an ophthalmologist to have a patient you canâ€™t help and macro degeneration is a condition you canâ€™t do much for," said Feldman. "But, what I would really like to do is bring these [blind] patients in and bring something that can really change their life and this could be the first step in bringing them that treatment."