Eye Disease Treatments
The Emergence of Stem Cell Therapy in Ophthalmology
Stem cell therapy has emerged as a novel, cutting-edge approach to treating a myriad of eye diseases and conditions, some of which often lead to visual impairment and, in severe cases, blindness. This transformative medical technique offers a promising solution to the traditional methods of vision restoration and protection. This scientific advancement has opened new avenues for combating eye diseases, instilling hope in patients who may have otherwise faced irreversible vision loss.
The Fear of Sight Loss and Age-Related Eye Conditions
The sense that most individuals harbor a profound fear of losing is their sight. Unfortunately, with the onset of middle age, conditions like macular degeneration become a daunting reality for a significant number of people worldwide. This degenerative eye disease often results in blurred or reduced central vision due to damage to the macula, the part of the eye responsible for clear, sharp, detailed vision.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Stargardt Disease: Threats to Central Vision
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Stargardt disease, the most prevalent inherited juvenile macular degeneration, are formidable threats to the retina – the layer of light-sensitive cells that line the back of the eye. This thin layer of cells, composed of rods and cones, plays a pivotal role in our ability to see. They convert light from our surroundings into signals that are then processed by the brain into the images we perceive, enabling us to interact with our environment.
The Retina’s Vulnerability to Age and Disease
The retina is susceptible to weakness and breakdown due to various factors, most notably age and the rupturing of surrounding blood vessels, as observed in diabetic retinopathy. When the retina deteriorates, vision impairment is inevitable. Apart from these, the retina is also vulnerable to a group of genetically inherited diseases collectively known as retinitis pigmentosa. Affecting approximately 2 million people globally, these diseases include Usher syndrome, Bardet-Biedl syndrome, and Refsum disease, among others. These conditions further underscore the diverse threats faced by our vision and the pressing need for effective treatments like stem cell therapy.