The medical community may have just discovered a way to cure blindness in those with a certain type of macular degeneration. A team of doctors from Great Britain performed the first stem cell surgery to treat neovascular (wet) macular degeneration, which is a type of macular degeneration that is responsible for 90 percent of severe vision loss from the disease. This is a huge step for the medical community!
Macular degeneration (MD) is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans, which is more than glaucoma and cataracts combined! While some young people can be affected by MD, it is mostly found in people over age 55.
The Breakthrough Surgery
This past August, a 60-year-old woman received embryonic stem cells in her eye that would replace the damaged ones at the center of her retina. If the surgery goes as planned, this legally blind woman will have her vision restored.
The cells used in the procedure were taken from donated embryos that were created during an IVF treatment.
No complications have been reported so far and in a few short months, the doctors will be able to determine the success of the surgery depending on how well the woman is able to see.
Nine other patients are receiving this trial surgery, and doctors are hoping to eventually make that this treatment available to the public, though many more trials will have to take place before it becomes a mainstream surgery.
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