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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 April, 2005, 19:11 GMT 20:11 UK
Stem cells used to restore vision
Stem cells can be used to develop different kinds of tissue
A hospital in West Sussex is pioneering the use of stem cells to restore the eyesight of patients.

The trial, being carried out at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, has already helped 40 people see again.

The surgery at the hospital has been developed over the past five years.

Stem cells from the patient or a donor are used to redevelop the cornea, the transparent film at the front of the eye which lets in light.

Opthalmic surgeon Sheraz Daya said: "Many people who've had injuries to their eyes, or even people born with congenital deficiencies of stem cells, land up having a problem with the top layer of their cornea.

Eyesight restored

"Even if we do a corneal transplant, that will not stay clear, it'll cloud over and fail.

"So what we need to do is replace those stem cells that are missing."

Among the 40 people who have already had their eyesight restored is Deborah Catlyn.

She was blind in one eye from the age of seven and then became partially-sighted in the other eye after an acid attack in a nightclub.

The treatment at Queen Victoria Hospital meant Ms Catlyn could see her daughter properly for the first time.

"I thought, 'My God, is that really my baby, look at her she's beautiful'," she said.

Artificial cornea project funded
19 Aug 04 |  England


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