Stem cells have an amazing potential to help many chronic conditions and diseases. They already play a major role in how your body heals from injuries big and small. Stem cells can also benefit patients with retinal diseases and help them in their natural healing. In treatments used for patients with retinal diseases such as macular degeneration, laboratory testing is already reporting vision improvements. Find out more about retinal diseases and how stem cell therapy can help patients to have better vision!
The National Eye Institute (NEI) reports that retinal diseases and vision problems cost Americans an average of $145 billion dollars each year. At least 1.3 million people in the U.S. are blind, and more than 2.9 million have very low vision. Countless millions more have refractive errors of the eye that cause nearsightedness (34+ million), farsightedness (14.2+ million) and astigmatism. Around 2.1 million Americans have age-related macular degeneration and 9.1 million have early signs of the disease. Some retinal diseases can be helped through medical aid, whereas other conditions cause permanent vision loss.
You have many layers and tissues in your eyes that all work together each day to allow you healthy, clear vision. Your cornea is the outer eye layer that covers the iris (colored part of the eye) and pupil (black part). Your lens lies just behind your pupil and sends light information to your retina. The retina is a light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye that helps you to have clear central vision and color vision. This tissue is vital for seeing clearly. An unhealthy or damaged retina is one that will develop retinal diseases and will eventually lose the ability to see.
A retinal disease at the forefront of vision loss is macular degeneration. Inside the eye, the macula tissue is a small part of the retina tissue that is responsible for a person’s central vision. Cells called “rods” and “cones” in this tissue help patients to see, especially color vision. However, with macular degeneration, those cells begin to die and a patient slowly loses their central vision until they become blind. There is no cure, and macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss. However, stem cell therapy is making strides in helping patients with this disease.
Your body has amazing abilities to heal itself, and it actually does this every day of your life. When you exercise, your muscle fibers break and repair themselves. Many organs and tissues (like your stomach) get rid of old cells and reline themselves with new ones. When you get a cut, scrape, or injury, your body immediately tries to put itself back together. It does this through stem cells—or neutral cells that you have in reserve in your body. Every person is born with stem cells.
When you’re injured, blood platelets rush to the site of injury to repair damage and to clot a wound. Stem cells lie dormant until an injury happens, then they follow those blood platelets to the wound and begin tissue rebuilding. These cells can differentiate and turn into the type of cell your body needs. When it comes to certain retinal diseases (and other diseases), your body struggles to repair damaged tissues.
Harvard Stem Cell Institute has been researching why this happens. They know that the body contains Müller cells, which are similar to stem cells. Fish have these cells, and their bodies naturally repair the retina and other parts of the eyes when damage happens. Humans have these same cells, but our genetic coding seems to halt those cells from repairing retinal damage. Researchers are working in labs, conducting trials where they can actually get Müller cells and stem cells to repair damaged retinas. Stem cell therapy is one method of restoring healing to a damaged retina.
Stem cell therapy is still in its youth. However, hundreds of thousands of patients have received stem cell therapy for more than 100 chronic conditions and diseases, including retinal diseases. Because of success with so many conditions, stem cell therapy is being studied and tested to see how it helps repair damaged retinas. In mice that have poor, low or damaged vision, stem cells and gene therapy is able to take stem cells from one area (either the same mice or donated stem cells from another) to help the retinas repair themselves.
Thus far, mice with these therapies have had their vision improve. Testing and trials with human patients is starting to yield positive results as well. Stem cell therapy can be tricky, but if stem cell therapy and gene therapy is successful in a patient, these cells can repair or maintain the retina’s structure so vision loss halts or improves. If you are a patient with a retinal disease, this is an exciting time of medicine that can directly improve your life. Stem cell therapy helps our patients with chronic aches and pains, arthritis, injuries and surgery.
We want to help all of our patients find healing and pain relief through natural, effective stem cell therapy. However, we also want to make sure our patients are candidates for stem cell therapy. With a medical evaluation at our office, we can assess your symptoms, chronic conditions and goals for the future. If we find that you are a candidate for stem cell therapy, we will start you on a treatment plan right away. Don’t let retinal diseases, conditions with chronic pain, arthritis and more get you down! Call Stem Cell Centers today at (877) 808-0016 and see what stem cell therapy can do for you!