A breakthrough operation has regenerated the lenses of 12 children using stem cells. Cataracts are a clouding of the lens that typically occurs in the elderly. It is the leading cause of blindness (left untreated).
Standard treatment of cataracts is inserting an artificial intraocular lens. However, this requires waiting until the cataracts “ripen”, or cataract surgery is often recommended by the eye doctor when he/she cannot refract the patients vision 20/40 or better due to the cataract.
How the New Cataract Surgery Works
The new eye surgery leaves the lens capsule intact. First, ultrasound breaks up the damaged lens. The pieces are flushed out. Then, the surgeon inserts stem cells from the lens capsule into the area where the lens should be. A new lens grows gradually in place over eight months.
The researchers chose children because intraocular lens replacement surgery is riskier for them. Also, their epithelial stem cells are younger and better at regenerating. Large trials are needed in elderly patients before this procedure could replace cataracts surgery.
Editor’s Note: While waiting for an ideal cure or ideal time for lens replacement surgery, some cataracts patients elect to use such natural approaches as special homeopathic eye drops to manage their cataracts and support lens health. Learn more on our lens support page.
Source: “Lens regeneration using endogenous stem cells with gain of visual function” by Haotian Lin et. al. Nature 531, 323–328 (17 March 2016) doi:10.1038/nature17181
Examining the eyes of animals has revealed a test for very early Parkinson’s Disease. This research may translate into an eye test for humans. If so, it offers hope to the 1 in 500 people worldwide who will develop Parkinson’s by allowing treatment to slow the condition in its earliest stages.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. Symptoms include muscle tremors, stiffness, and slow movement. It is not fatal by itself, but it reduces the quality of life. There is currently no definitive test, and doctors cannot diagnose this neurological Continue reading
Glutathione is a “super-antioxidant” that benefits the entire body. It is one of the few antioxidants that can neutralize the full spectrum of free radicals. Glutathione is a compound involved as a coenzyme in oxidation–reduction reactions in cells. It is a tripeptide derived from glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine and acts both an intracellular antioxidant and a regulator of all other antioxidants. This substance helps prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals and peroxides. It is very important for the health of the eye’s retina and lens.
Low glutathione levels in the body have been linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and aging in general.
The body is capable of producing glutathione. However, it needs a combination of nutreints to do this including the amino acids L-cysteine, L-Glutamine and L-Glycine, Vitamin C, selenium and alpha lipoic acid . Glutamate and glycine are non-essential amino acids because they are manufactured by the body itself. The typical diet does not contain cysteine in large quantities. Therefore, supplementation ensures a significant amount of this antioxidant is Continue reading
Acupuncture has been used for millennia to treat eye disease. Today, acupuncture can help preserve vision for those with a wide range of eye conditions including macular degeneration, glaucoma, eye floaters, dry eyes, cataracts and much more. Part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture involves a practitioner inserting tiny needles into the skin. It is licensed and regulated by most states in the US. How does acupuncture work, and what are its effects on supporting eye conditions? What could you expect from acupuncture treatments? What can you do at home?
Natural Eye Care owners Michael Edson, L.Ac. and Marc Grossman, OD, L.Ac are both licensed acupuncturists specializing in the eye; Dr. Grossman is also a Doctor of Optometry. Here are the answers to these questions and more. Continue reading
Low antioxidant levels in eye tissue are directly correlated to incidence of macular degeneration. A small study found a relationship between low intake of antioxidants and advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Macular Degeneration is an eye disease associated with aging. Many middle-aged and elderly individuals seek to prolong good vision and prevent eye disease.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
This study looked at low intake of antioxidants with specific focus on lutein and zeaxanthin. Antioxidants fight free-radical damage. They protect the eyes and body from damage due to free radicals. Their intake was measured by the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids especially important for vision. They are found in some brightly-colored produce and other foods such as eggs. Carotenoids give fruits and vegetables their color. Continue reading
The role of supplemental oxygen in diabetic macular edema was the subject of a pilot study in 2004. Diabetic macular edema or DME is a side-effect of diabetes. DME occurs when retinal blood vessels leak into the macula apparently trying to provide more oxygen to the retina. This leakage causes swelling, which, in turn, causes part of central vision to become blurred.
The study gave 5 DME patients supplemental oxygen using a standard oxygen supplying device called a nasal cannula (see photo). The patients were tested before, during and after three months of oxygen therapy. The results showed a significant reduction in excess foveal thickness and Continue reading
An antibody known as aducanumab may be helpful in removing amyloid plaque in Alzheimer’s patients.
Alzheimer’s: Where we are now
The presence of amyloid plaque deposits in the brain are characteristic Alzheimer’s disease. The condition presents as amyloid plaque deposits, tangles in the brain neurons, poorly functioning nerve synapses and nerve cell deterioration. Alzheimer’s is linked to glaucoma, cerebrovascular disease, poor sleep and to nutrient deficiencies. A number of possibilities exist for improving the condition or slowing its development, including a number of different drugs, antioxidants, some cancer drugs, and compounds found in green tea.
Focus on Reducing Amyloid Plaque
Thus far researcher have been looking at ways to reduce amyloid Continue reading
Does Alzheimer’s disease cause poor sleep, or is it the other way around? Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University are conducting a study to find out. The results might show that poor sleep leads to Alzheimer’s. If so, this study may help determine who is at highest risk of developing the disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is marked by the build-up of plaque and tangles in the brain. This causes neurological damage. Early symptoms include short-term memory loss. Later, language
problems, disorientation, motivation loss, moodiness, difficulty caring for oneself and behavioral problems arise.
The different parts of your eye have special needs. Many antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids are needed for good vision. But different parts of the eye especially need specific nutrients. A healthy diet can provide most of these nutrients – so, take a look at Food for Your Eyes.
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Cornea transplant surgery involves removing a damaged or diseased cornea, and replacing it with tissue from a deceased donor. All or part of the cornea may be replaced. In the United States, eye surgeons do approximately 33,000 corneal transplants (keratoplasty) per year. The surgery might be recommended if vision is seriously impaired by scarring from an injury, or eye diseases such as Fuchs’ Dystrophy, Lattice Dystrophy, or Keratoconus.
What is the Cornea’s Job?
The cornea is transparent tissue at the front of the eye. Its job is to protect the eye from damage. This tissue also absorbs oxygen and nutrients. Light enters through the cornea Continue reading