01/07/2013

Blind mice get sight back

NEWS

For centuries, blindness was an irreversible condition.  In cases of degenerative eye disease, patients would be set on a path of decline that could not be stopped.  But new research from Oxford University may be able to change this.

Doctors from Oxford were successfully able to restore vision in totally blind mice through injections of light-sensing cells into the eyes.  These cells were described as "precursor" cells, which will develop into the building blocks for the retina once inside the eyes.  Mice that had previously been blind were tested on whether their pupils restricted in light, if they fled being in a bright area, and had their brains scanned to see if visual information was being processed.

Despite the advancements in the field, some still have concerns, especially with regard to the quality of sight restored; one critic asked if the mice could tell the difference between an enemy and food.  Despite the concerns, the developments could prove promising, as the study was conducted to mimic what would be needed by humans with degenerative eye conditions.

Sourced from: Totally Blind Mice Get Sight Back, BBC News