Simple new procedure offers hope for common eye disease

14 July 2016

People with the common eye disease known as Fuchs endothelial dystrophy could soon have access to a simple and minimally invasive new procedure.

A proof-of-concept study carried out by the University of Chicago showed that removing a few square millimetres of a single layer of cells on the inside of the cornea prompted rejuvenation of the surrounding tissue, without the need for a corneal transplant.

Typically, this condition is characterised by water accumulating in the cornea, due to problems with the pumping cells, causing reduced vision, glare and haloes. If left untreated, the condition can lead to painful blindness.

Taking out the central dysfunctional cells has now been shown to help healthier peripheral cells to migrate to the center of the cornea, where they reestablish pumping capacity and removal of fluid from the layers above.

Of the 13 eyes treated in this study, four were fast responders, four responded on a regular timescale and two were slow responders.

Dr Kathryn Colby, chair of the department of ophthalmology and visual science at the University of Chicago, said: "It's quick, inexpensive and it spares patients from having someone else's cells in their eyes, which requires local immunosuppression."

Posted by Jeanette Royston

 


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