The human eye is one of the most important yet complicated parts of the body. Eye care is one of the greatest public health challenges in the 21st century. More than thirty nine million people worldwide suffer from blindness; more than half of these individuals are blind due to cataract. Unfortunately, most of these people would not have been blinded if they were able to receive the proper surgery needed to remove cataracts from the eye. Many of these people live in a part of the world where nutrition is limited. Due to the lack of nutrients, these people are at a higher risk of developing cataracts but lower chances of having proper access to eye care.
Eighteen million unnecessarily blind cataract patients are still waiting to be treated. Surprisingly, cataract surgery only takes ten minutes to complete. Cataract surgery is considered one of the most cost effective medical inventions in the world.
Scientists are still working to find a solution for blindness caused by damaged retinas. Scientists at Johns Hopkins’ Wilmer Eye Institute have potentially found a way to repair retinal cells using umbilical cord blood stem cells. By growing a type of blood vessel tissue and safely inject it into mice with damaged retinas, these scientists have found a new hope for the advancement of cataract treatment. This is a significant breakthrough that could potentially help millions of people.
Stem cell technology has been slowly advancing over the last few years. It has even evolved to the point where a number of diseases are able to be cured by this new technology. Many people with cataracts have been anticipating this new discovery.
Some individuals have even made plans to store the umbilical cord blood stem cells of their baby in order to use the material in the future. If you decide to store a cord for future use, it is important to make sure that it is well preserved and ready. A blood bank in Wisconsin recommends that anyone attempting to do this should have been active in the field of medical sample preservation for a significant amount of time.
Researchers continue to study umbilical cord blood stem cells and their potential. Scientists were able to produce a range of specialised tissue that could make up the cornea, conjunctiva, lens, and retina. An ultimate goal of stem cell research is to turn the potential of one’s own stem cells for tissue and organ repair and disease therapy. The potential shift in cataract surgery and treatment may offer the patients a better, safer option. The discovery also has the potential of changing the future of medicine.
It is important for everyone to get the proper care and treatment that they deserve, regardless of one’s geographical location. This new information could be the end to the public’s current greatest health challenge. The future of medicine is exciting and hopeful.