The cornea is the clear outermost layer of the eye. Its main function is to focus the light that enters the eye.
Problems Caused by Corneal Scar Tissue
Corneal infectious diseases have blinded over six million people worldwide, and decreased the vision of over a quarter of a million more. The body responds to corneal disease or trauma by making scar tissue. This causes cloudy or hazy vision, similar to cataracts.
Corneas can sometimes be replaced using corneal transplants, but there are concerns about tissue rejection, and corneal tissue is not always available. Therefore, new research from Hyderabad, India and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is particularly exciting.
Corneal Stem Cells Could Be the Key
Doctors have been working on a technique to obtain ocular stem cells from tiny biopsies between the surface of the eye and a portion of the eye known as the limbus. Scientists placed corneal stem cells at the injury site in an animal model. They found that the scarred corneas of mice healed and became clear again.
A study will soon be conducted in India in which several patients will receive their own corneal stem cells as treatment.
We eagerly await the results of this study. Hopes are high that stem cells could be the key to permanently healing corneal damage.