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Each of your eyes is about the size of a Ping-Pong ball. Impairment is caused by eye disease and conditions like structural abnormalities and aging. Some 80 percent of cases are preventable or treatable.
Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism are types of refractive errors, flaws that keep the eye from focusing light sharply on the retina. Absent lenses or surgery, they’re the most common causes of impairment.
The world’s leading cause of blindness, cataracts are caused when proteins in the lens clump together, blocking and distorting light to the retina. Surgery can restore sight.
Glaucoma is caused by fluid buildup in the eye, resulting in pressure that can damage the optic nerve. If it’s caught early enough, surgery and medication may slow its advance.
Caused by an alteration of the underlying layers of the retina’s macular area, AMD affects photoreceptors that process images. There is no cure.
A patch coated with stem cell–derived epithelial cells is set behind deteriorating photoreceptors, replacing dead cells to slow or reverse age-related macular degeneration.
Retinal progenitor cells are injected into the eye’s vitreous cavity, where they release factors to slow the progression of hereditary degeneration and blindness.
A microchip that converts light into currents is implanted amid dead photoreceptors in the retina’s macular region, allowing the optic nerve to pick up electronic signals.
The Argus implant, now approved, bypasses damaged photoreceptors with the help of glasses, an external camera, a video processor, and an electrode array.
A solution carrying a benign virus laden with the RPE65 gene—which provides instructions for a protein essential to vision—is injected near damaged photoreceptor cells.
The virus delivers healthy RPE65 genes, and the protein products of these genes allow the photoreceptors to translate light into sight.