A study by the Mayo Clinic states that there are approximately 3 millions cases of adult macular degeneration (AMD) every year, which is one of the leading causes of blindness in adults. There are two types of this disease, wet and dry, but both lead to permanent vision loss. Up until recently there was thought to be no cure for this disease.
Recently surgeons in the UK have used stem cells to perform a surgery on a woman with the wet form of AMD. In the case of AMD the leaking of blood vessels into the retina is what causes people to be deemed legally blind. Professor Lydon DaCruz who performed this surgery at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London directly transplanted stem cells into the woman’s eye to stop this leaking of blood vessels. This is the first surgery of its kind combatting the disease and researchers say it could open new doors for many who are struggling with partial or total loss of vision.
It will be a few months before the surgeons know for sure if the procedure fully cures the wet form of AMD but Professor DaCruz is very optimistic about the procedure and considers it a huge breakthrough! The doctors are also confident that this procedure can cure the dry form of AMD as well even though it has only been tested on the wet form so far.