Stem Cells Succeed in Restoring Vision in a Blind Patient
A team of Indian doctors successfully treated an NRI (Non-Resident Indian) who accidentally lost his vision after consuming a large amount of methanol about two and half months ago in Neenah city, Wisconsin. This incident resulted in optic atrophy, which cannot be cured according to medical professionals. In this condition, the optic nerve in the eye is severely damaged leading to permanent blindness.
According to Himanshu Bansal, a researcher in stem cell therapy and the lead doctor who performed stem cell transplantation on the NRI patient, the optic nerve of the patient was very badly damaged as seen in the MRI scan.
The patient’s bone marrow was the source of stem cells. Two units of 360 million stem cells per unit were extracted from the bone marrow and injected into the patient’s optic nerve consecutively for two days (1 unit per day). The therapy was performed at Laksha Hospital, Chennai.
The results of the therapy were quick and extremely positive. The NRI, whose vision was damaged to the extent that he could not see his own hand soon after the accident, was now able to watch television.
Soon after the treatment, the patient had undertaken visual evoke potential test at a retina foundation center in Chennai. This test is performed to confirm the health status of optic nerve.
The test showed that more than 90% of the vision has been restored in his case.
The severity of optic atrophy can be estimated in Prof Himadri Dutta’s words, “Just as you cannot infuse life to a dead body, you cannot restore vision to an optic atrophy patient. It would be a miracle if it has happened.”
Doctors claim that this is the first case of optic atrophy in the world in which more than 90% of the vision has been restored.