Tiny strips of adult stem cells attached to specially designed contact lenses, slowly detach from the contact lens onto the surface of the eye. These stem cells then repair damaged corneas.
In a study at the Centre of Eye Research Australia, it was discovered that if these specially treated lenses were inserted into the eye and left in place for four days, the cells transferred from the contact lens to the eye.
How it Works
The scientists took limbal stem cells, whose natural function is to repair the eye, from the edge of the cornea.
They then grew hundreds of thousands of these cells on special contact lenses.
The main advantage of this technique, according to researcher Karl David Brown, was that these stem cells could be taken from the patient’s own eyes or willing adult donors.
This makes it a potentially more viable treatment than the current treatments being considered which use something called human amnion to repair the cornea. Human amnion comes from the membrane surrounding and embryo and it is hard to source sufficient qualities of this substance to make it a practical treatment.
Human Trials Soon
The speed at which these special contact lenses begin to cure eyes has impressed the medical community at large and small scale human trials are about to begin.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Brown said, “I’m cautiously optimistic that the human trials will yield positive results.”