Eye Stem Cell Study - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Eye Stem Cell Study

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50-year-old Sylvia Paton can only see shadows with her left eye. She was born with an eye condition called Aniridia. "I can see greenery, I'm assuming it would be trees, I also see what is probably rooftops with small detail - below the rooftops."

Slowly she's been losing the rest of her sight because her eye has no way to control the light that comes through. That has damaged her cornea.

Now she's taking part in a first of its kind experiment in Scotland where scientists are trying to restore some of her sight. Doctors transplanted stem cells into her eye that they hope will protect her cornea and repair the damage.

Scientists at a lab isolate cells from donors then grow them into tissue. "They do exactly what they do in life, they reproduce themselves and grow outwards over the surface," says researcher Bal Dhillion.

Until now a full cornea tissue transplant was the only treatment. "I think it will be a major step forward for the many hundreds and thousands of individuals who have problems with aniridia and other conditions scarring to the cornea," says Dr. Ashish Agrawal.

Sylvia has no regrets about having the experimental treatment. "I feel extremely excited and so honored to have the opportunity."

It will be months before doctors know if the procedure helped Sylvia.

One other person also took part in the Scottish study.

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