Three Types of Eye Conditions that Cause Blindness and How They Are Treated with Stem Cells
Blindness affects many Americans every year. Blindness can be caused by a number of medical conditions, although there are three types of eye conditions that cause most blindness. These three eye conditions can be successfully treated with stem cell therapies to prevent or slow down the complete loss of vision.
Age-related macular degeneration accounts for about half of all adult vision loss cases and affects about 8 million Americans annually. Macular degeneration occurs when the layer of cells that supports the photoreceptors is destroyed. This layer of cells is called the retinal pigment epithelial or RPE cells. Some researchers are working on replacing these cells with developed stem cells. Other stem cell treatments that are being developed include reprogramming embryonic or adult stem cells to regenerate this barrier of cells and prevent eventual vision loss.
Retinitis Pigmentosa is an inherited disease that causes vision loss. This disease leaves most patients completely blind by mid-life. This disease destroys the photoreceptors of the retina. Researchers are using stem cell therapies to try to replace the photoreceptor cells in the retina to slow down or prevent total vision loss. Stem cells are also being used to save the retina from further damage and try to repair the damage already done.
Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency
The cornea is constantly refreshed by stem cells, but sometimes the limbal system does not produce enough stem cells in the area to keep the eye healthy and whole. This is being combated with stem cell treatments that retrieve the few limbal stem cells left in the cornea and manipulate them in the lab to grow them into enough cells to rebuild a healthy cornea.
If you or a loved one are combating these or other eye conditions that could lead to blindness, contact us today for more information or to be paired with doctors using these stem cell therapies.