UF researches claim cure for blindness

Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

GAINESVILLE, FL (WFLX) - Amazing developments for the blind as surgeons figure out they can actual restore retinas by literally rewiring the brain. This remarkable breakthrough is being made in Florida.

Researchers at the University of Florida say three study volunteers, all blind since birth, can now partially see out of one eye after receiving experimental gene therapy in a portion of the retina.

All three patients suffer from Leber congenital amaurosis, an inherited retinal disease that steals sight from infants and children and is untreatable for now. "I believe it's only a matter of time before we expect our horizons to be able to treat other forms of inherited retinal disease for which we currently have no treatment," said a spokesperson.

Doctors say one of the more amazing and baffling findings in this study is, even in adults with severely impaired sight, the brain appears to have rewired itself and recognized that part of the retina that's been restored with gene therapy.

One patient, doctors say, can actually read the digital clock in her parents' car for the first time.

Another patient said this retinal gene therapy is nothing short of hope. "This gene therapy clinical trial is truly a miracle. I mean whoever thought that through science we could reverse blindness and give people sight that they've never had?"

Doctors say one of the more interesting and baffling results of this study is how the brain found new ways to process what these once-blind people were seeing for the first time.