Scientists might be close to finding a cure for blindness


Eye cells grown from stem cells could serve as a solution for people with impaired vision

Modern medicine is constantly working towards new solutions for the problems and challenges humans face. Blindness is one of the problems that have been impossible to treat so far. But that might change in the future.  The latest finding by the University of Wisconsin-Madison might bring scientists one step closer to finding a cure for certain age-related eye disorders.

Stem cells have already proven to be key in fighting certain types of cancer and now, the cells might also be helpful in dealing with eye diseases like glaucoma and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), or certain injuries to the eyes.

Stem cells

So what are stem cells? Our bodies are just a huge collection of cells. And stem cells are the cells that produce all other cells in your body. But some cells have a specific function. Some of your cells are located in your brain and make sure that your brain functions, others are in your blood and some cells are in your eyes. Your stem cells create those other cells (daughter cells) that produce certain functions or actions (like brain cells or blood cells). This process happens automatically. In a lab, stem cells can be nudged into a certain direction to create cells with certain functions. In the case of this research, researchers have attempted to create the cells in your eyes; also called retina cells.


The researchers found that these ‘home-made’ retina cells could actually successfully connect with already existing eye cells. Meaning that it might be possible to introduce these new cells to a patients eye where they will reach out and connect with the existing cells. This is important for treating diseases; if the new cells wouldn’t connect with the existing cells, they wouldn’t be able to function as eye cells. When the cells do connect, these new cells could possibly replace the ‘broken’ cells that are causing eye diseases in patients. The finding could prove to help cure patients who are suffering from diseases or eye injuries.

More research

The researchers are now looking to focus their attention on tests with humans. This means that, after just lab testing the dish-grown cells, the researchers will now try and find out whether the procedure also works with humans. If the new cells could successfully connect with a human with impaired vision, it could be a major breakthrough in the treatment of impaired vision or even a cure for blindness.

Also read: Round, almond shaped or small: the shape of your eyes says a lot about your personality

Source: CDC, Mayo Clinic, Study Finds | Image: Unsplash, Perchek Industrie