Yourwellness Magazine Investigates Cause of Diabetic Blindness

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With WHO announcing its plans to reduce visual impairment (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/), Yourwellness Magazine investigated one of WHO’s cited causes – diabetic retinopathy – and how researchers may have found a way to eliminate it altogether.

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Scientists are looking at creating treatments via stem cell research in a study known as REDDSTAR, which stands for Repair of Diabetic Damage by Stromal Cell Administration, and consists of taking cells from donors

According to WHO, 80% of all visual impairment can be avoided or cured, but, as it stands, 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide. Although the number of people visually impaired from infectious diseases has greatly reduced in the last 20 years, these cases, alongside uncorrected refractive errors – such as cataracts – remain a major concern in developing countries, where 90% of the world’s visually impaired live. Currently, 246 million people across the world have low vision, while 39 million are completely blind and 246.

Therefore, WHO has announced its efforts to reduce visual impairments, such as developing policies and strategies to prevent blindness, giving technical assistance to Member States and partners, monitoring and evaluating programmes, and coordinating international partnerships. WHO also noted that, in response to the increasing burden of chronic eye disease, the organisation is in the process of developing policies and guidelines for diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and refractive errors.

With this in mind, Yourwellness Magazine took a look at the important work of researchers at Queen’s University in Belfast, who are developing a new approach that could help to save the sight of diabetes sufferers across the world. Yourwellness Magazine explained that diabetics can experience a condition is known as Diabetic Retinopathy, in which high blood sugar causes the eyes’ blood vessels to leak or become blocked, harming the retina and impairing vision or eradicating it altogether.

According to the article, “Scientists are looking at creating treatments via stem cell research in a study known as REDDSTAR, which stands for Repair of Diabetic Damage by Stromal Cell Administration, and consists of taking cells from donors, altering them in a laboratory and then re-introducing them to the patient in order to help repair the eye’s blood vessels.” Yourwellness Magazine noted that there are currently no treatments available that treat the complication at and deal with the cause at the same time, and thus this research has gained the involvement of experts from all over the world.

For more information, visit the gateway to living well at http://www.yourwellness.com.

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Sabrina Lal
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