Gene Therapy, High-Tech Goggles Restore Some Vision to Blind People – The Wall Street Journal

Researchers are making remarkable strides towards an objective that as soon as appeared almost unthinkable: Restoring limited vision to people affected by a previously permanent kind of blindness triggered by an acquired eye illness called retinitis pigmentosa.
In a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine, scientists working with the Paris-based company GenSight Biologics SA reported that a 58-year-old guy who was identified with retinitis pigmentosa 40 years ago was able to find items put on a table after getting a speculative treatment. And New York City-based business Bionic Sight LLC revealed in March that four blind individuals in an early-stage scientific trial are now able to discover light and motion after undergoing a similar treatment. Those outcomes havent yet been released.
The patients all had advanced cases of retinitis pigmentosa, which affects more than two million individuals global. All went through optogenetic therapy, in which an injection is used to deliver a gene into the eye to increase the light level of sensitivity of particular cells in the retina, a layer of tissue at the back of the eye. The business are establishing modern safety glasses that procedure and magnify light in such a way that improves the cells capability to send out electrical signals to the brain.
Dr. Anand Swaroop, a senior detective at the National Eye Institute in Bethesda, Md., called optogenetic treatment an exciting alternative for some blind people however not a cure. When sight is lost entirely, he said, “Restoring vision that permits high resolution, high sensitivity, and high detection is not easy.”
Barry Honig, a participant in the Bionic Sight trial, stated that individuals had actually often asked him if he wish to be able to see once again. “This is the first time I have felt it is obtainable,” he stated.