Contact Lenses With Stem Cells Restores Sight To 3 Patients

Posted Jun 9, 2009

At The University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia an experiment was conducted where stem cells were cultivated in contact lenses to see if it would help restore the sight of three patients. It turns out that it did work! The stem cells helped reverse blinding corneal disease and this procedure could even be used to repair damaged skin.

“We’re quietly excited. We don’t know yet if (the correction) will remain stable, but if it does it’s a wonderful technique” stated UNSW stem cell scientist and team leader Nick Di Girolamo. Two out of three patients were legally blind and now they can read the big letters on the eye chart. The third patient could read the top few rows and is now able to pass the driving vision test.

The idea for the stem cells being cultivated in contact lenses when opthalogist Minas Coroneo noticed that cornea stem cells often times stick to contact lenses. To obstain the stem cells, Dr. Stephanie Watson took under a millimeter of tissue from the side of each of the patient’s cornea. After cleaning the surface of the patients’ cornea, the contact lenses were inserted. Within 10-14 days, the stem cells attached to the cornea and replenished the damaged cells.

The team in Sydney applied for additional funds to keep the project going. Above is a television interview with the team.

[via The Australian/Gizmodo]