More than half of all cases of blindness are caused by cataracts — a clouding of the eye lens. Normally, when transactions are used the artificial lens but during the operations described in the journal Nature, surgeons activated stem cells in the eye and raised a new lens.
Experts call this operation one of the most outstanding achievements in the field of regenerative medicine.
By conventional treatment clouded lens is softened by ultrasound and then washed out of the eye. Then introduced into the eye an artificial lens, however, this procedure can lead to complications, especially in children.
The method, developed by experts at the sun Yat-sen University and the University of California in San Diego, involves removal of a cataract lens through a small incision in the cornea. This helps to keep intact the outer shell, or capsule, of the lens.
This structure is covered with epithelial stem cells, which are transformed into a new lens. After successful tests on laboratory animals ophthalmologists conducted a clinical trial on 12 children.
After eight months, all the children recovered the lens has reached the original size.
Clinical trials will continue for older patients, since stem cells in the epithelium children have the greatest potential for regeneration.
Suffer from cataracts mostly elderly and old people, but scientists believe that stem cells may help them in rebuilding damaged tissues in the eye.
The first tests of the operation in older people have yielded encouraging results.