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Cell Reprogramming Techniques Could Repair Damage from Eye Diseases

Posted on September 30, 2016 by Disability Help Group

Eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration destroy retinal neurons, which can lead to vision loss and eventually total blindness. While there are treatments to slow the progression of these diseases, there is no cure yet for the retinal damage.

Researchers at the Yale University School of Medicine have discovered they can reprogram glial cells, the support cells of the eye, to help repair damage to neurons. The most common type of glial cells, Muller glial (MG) cells, can — once reprogrammed — act as stem cells, effectively regrowing the damaged neurons and restoring functionality.

The researchers used gene insertion techniques to reprogram the MG cells to activate a Wnt signaling pathway that triggers the MG cells to multiply and replenish lost retinal neurons. The study, published in Cell Reports, tested this technique on adult mice with success. Researchers are now looking to apply the research to many other degenerative eye diseases.

If You Suffer From Severe Low Vision or Blindness, You Might Qualify For Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration provides special programs and benefits to people with severe low vision impairments or who are blind. Eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration can cause these conditions and qualify you for Social Security disability benefits.

To learn more about applying for and obtaining benefits from the Social Security disability programs, call the Disability Help Group at 800-800-2009 to schedule a consultation with a disability advocate.