Millions of people worldwide suffer from corneal blindness, 80% of whom are elderly. Doctors in Edinburgh and Glasgow will work together using an innovative technique involving adult stem cells to offer hope to these patients.

Stem cells are a source of great scientific interest as a result of their ability to renew and multiply indefinitely, potentially regenerating entire organs from only a few cells.

Twenty patients are initiated to take part in the initial tests, using cells cultivated before being transplanted onto the surface of the cornea.

Unlike the more controversial embryonic stem cell research, the technique takes stem cells from dead adult donors.
The researchers are excited because this is the first study of its kind anywhere in the world.

This trial will try to emulate the success of a similar study conducted in the US in September last year when subjects with inherited blindness experienced dramatic improvements in vision after a corrective gene was injected into the eye.