Mouse retinal tissue repaired by lab-grown, virus-free stem cells

Investigators at Johns Hopkins report they have developed human induced-pluripotent stem cells(iPSCs) capable of repairing damaged retinal vascular tissue in mice. The stem cells, derived from human umbilical cord-blood and coaxed into an embryonic-like state, were grown without the conventional use of viruses, which can mutate genes and initiate cancers, according to the scientists. Their safer method of growing the cells has drawn increased support among scientists, they say, and paves the way for a stem cell bank of cord-blood derived iPSCs to advance regenerative medicine research. Continue reading

New eye layer has possible link to glaucoma

A new layer in the human cornea – discovered by researchers at The University of Nottingham last year – plays a vital role in the structure of the tissue that controls the flow of fluid from the eye, research has shown.

The findings, published in a paper in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, could shed new light onglaucoma, a devastating disease caused by defective drainage of fluid from the eye and the world’s second leading cause of blindness. Continue reading

Personalised treatment on horizon for rare genetic disease patients

UK researchers have identified the most serious genetic mutations responsible for a rare condition that causes blindness, opening the door for personalised treatment and tailored gene therapies.

Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) is an inherited disease that causes blindness, learning difficulties, extra fingers and toes and obesity and can lead to serious kidney problems. It affects around 500 people in the UK, and symptoms often appear during childhood, but it is difficult to predict the severity of the disease.  Continue reading

TV warning for Halloween contact lenses

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South West Wales contact lens practitioner, Loveleen Browes, was interviewed this week by the BBC Wales consumer rights programme X-Ray. The popular BBC Wales programme is doing a piece in the run up to Halloween about the increase in sales of unlicensed cosmetic contact lenses.

Filming at her clinic in Neath Port Talbot Hospital, Ms Browes spoke to presenter Lucy Owen, with the BBC team spending an afternoon with Ms Browes in her clinic. Ms Browes, an optometrist, has two practices in Burry Port and Swansea, covering all of Carmarthenshire, South Wales. Continue reading

Corneal inlays may remove need for reading glasses

Implantable eye devices called corneal inlays are designed to correct presbyopia – the age-related loss of near vision that affects over a billion people worldwide. Delegates at a recent scientific meeting learned how one such device – the KAMRA inlay – improved near vision well enough for 80% of study participants to be able to read a newspaper without impairing far distance vision for common activities such as driving.

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