Scientists have discovered specific cells in front surface of the eye that have stem cell properties and could lead to new procedures to cure blindness.
Researchers at the University of Southampton led by Professor Andrew Lotery found that cells called corneal limbal stromal cells could be cultured to create retinal cells.
This could lead to new treatments for eye conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa or wet age-related macular degeneration, a condition causing loss of vision in older people.
The research suggested that using corneal limbus cells would be beneficial in humans as it would avoid complications with contamination because the cells taken from the eye would be returned to the same patient.
This is a promising discovery as the corneal limbus is one of the most accessible regions of the human eye and it represents 90% of the thickness of the front eye wall.