Eyes of the Dead Could Help Living See

Cell transplants restore brain, eye connection

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 3, 2014 2:27 AM CST | Updated Feb 3, 2014 3:00 AM CST

(Newser) – A new technique could dramatically improve the ways in which the eyes of the dead can help restore sight to the blind, according to research published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine. Researchers extracted a type of adult stem cell from the back of donated eyes and found that they could restore up to 50% of vision in blind rats by restoring electrical signals between the eye and the brain. Clinical trials of the technique, which could help with a wide variety of sight problems, are expected to begin within three years.

People who receive the donated cells "probably wouldn't be able to read, but they could move around and detect a table in a room," one of the researchers tells the BBC. "They would be able to identify a kettle and cup to make a cup of tea. Their quality of life would be so much better, even if they could not read or watch TV."

Donated corneas are already used to help improve sight.
Donated corneas are already used to help improve sight.   (Shutterstock)
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