06 May Stem Cell Therapy For Glaucoma
Losing your vision can limit your independence and decrease your quality of life. Without sight, there are many things an individual can no longer do, or has to learn how to do a new way. This change of routine can be scary, especially for older individuals who have never had a vision condition. Glaucoma is pressure from fluid on the optic nerve, causing a gradual loss of vision over time. Stem cell therapy can save you from invasive surgical procedures to repair your eye and restore your vision.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is defined as a build-up of fluid in the front part of your eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, which can slowly damage the optic nerve causing vision loss. There are two major forms of glaucoma, primary open angle glaucoma, and closed-angle glaucoma. Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. It happens gradually when the eye does not drain fluid properly. The eye begins to build up pressure, which damages the optic nerve. This type of glaucoma is painless and causes no vision changes at first. Closed-angle glaucoma happens when someone’s iris is very close to the drainage angle in his or her eye. The iris can eventually end up blocking the drainage angle, causing eye pressure to build quickly. This is an acute attack and an emergency that you could go blind from. Many people with this condition develop it slowly, with almost no symptoms.
What Is Stem Cell Therapy?
The most basic forms of our body’s cells begin as stem cells. There would be no growth in our organs without them. There are many different ways doctors can harvest these cells for the treatment of injured tissue. Some of the more common methods include embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells, adult cells that have been turned into embryonic stem cells, and perinatal stem cells. Another method is to harvest them from fat cells, or adipose cells. Adipose-derived stem cells are taken from a patient’s fat. Adipose mesenchymal stem cells are important because they can become other mesenchymal cells, like bone cells, muscle cells, fat cells, cartilage cells, and many other cells. Fat-derived stem cells are abundant in the body and often used to regenerate the tissue from injuries. Harvesting fat cells is a minimally invasive procedure, making it better than the painful procedure of taking out the bone marrow.
Can Stem Cell Therapy Treat Glaucoma?
One recent study found that mesenchymal stem cells survived for more than 35 days following injection in a rat model of glaucoma, with a lot of the cells going to the retina. Stem cells can regenerate cells that have been killed by the pressure of glaucoma. This therapy could be groundbreaking in restoring a patient’s vision loss from glaucoma.