Stem Cell Trial Aims to Cure Blindness

Surgeons in London have carried out a pioneering human embryonic stem cell operation in an ongoing trial to find a cure for blindness for many patients.

Source: Stem cell trial aims to cure blindness

They’ll have to wait til at least Christmas to see if the patients’ vision has improved and if it is sustainable.

They used an embryonic stem cell in an attempt to rebuild the RPE, which is how they can apply it to dry AMD (I did not gather that any drusen would be removed, but I guess it would strengthen the integrity of the RPE after suffering mottling/RPED’s, and thus prevent the choroid from breaking through???). This might, one day, potentially cure only “wet” macular degeneration (MD).  Wet is the less common (10%) kind of MD, but there are still going to be millions affected by the more common “dry” (non-leaking) type of MD.

That said, a company called OCATA has halted blindness from MD (dry and Stargardt’s) in 17 out of 18 patients, and actually improved vision in 10. They have patented a technique to regrow stem cells and they are the real deal, now in Phase II I believe.

Why You Should Thank an Astronomer for Preventing Blindness

We are, as Carl Sagan famously said, made of star stuff—and now, your doctor may use a technology designed for studying the stars to examine the inner workings of your eyes. Here’s how it works—and could one day save you from blindness.

Source: Why You Should Thank an Astronomer for Preventing Blindness

A Neuroscience Experiment You Can Perform On Yourself With Just A Mirror

There are lots of DIY scientific experiments you can put to the test, without needing so much as a lab protocol. Not all of them are just kitchen chemistry, though. In fact, here’s a strange experiment a neuroscientist gave us to try out right now, on yourself.

Source: A Neuroscience Experiment You Can Perform On Yourself With Just A Mirror

What if you have heterochromia iridum?

Sight is pretty interesting, but we understand very little of it sadly.  There’s an interesting theory about nearsightedness too…

Why Are You Nearsighted? Here’s An Explanation You May Not Have Heard.

The southern city of Guangzhou has long held the largest eye hospital in China. But about five years ago, it became clear that the Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center needed to expand.

More and more children were arriving with the blurry distance vision caused by myopia, and with so many needing eye tests and glasses, the hospital was bursting at the seams. So the centre began adding new testing rooms — and to make space, it relocated some of its doctors and researchers to a local shopping mall. Now during the summer and winter school holidays, when most diagnoses are made, “thousands and thousands of children” pour in every day, says ophthalmologist Nathan Congdon, who was one of those uprooted. “You literally can’t walk through the halls because of all the children.”

East Asia has been gripped by an unprecedented rise in myopia, also known as short-sightedness. Sixty years ago, 10–20% of the Chinese population was short-sighted. Today, up to 90% of teenagers and young adults are. In Seoul, a whopping 96.5% of 19-year-old men are short-sighted.

Source: The myopia boom

This isn’t the first I’d heard about the hypothesis – the first time indicated that being outdoors was a preventative measure.  But only if the horizon was a significant distance away and could be seen; according to them, it was all about spending time focusing on objects a great distance away as well as closer objects. IE: being outdoors in a dense urban environment where you were closely surrounded by buildings that blocked far distance views didn’t help.  To put it another way, how many farmers do you know who are near-sighted?

The article/hypothesis picks on books, but tablets/etc are no better.  Maybe my folks were right about sitting too close to the TV?  Nah… 😛