This medication could be key to restoring sight in certain cases, but real obstacles exist
Losing the use of your eyes via retinitis pigmentosa or macular degeneration — diseases that effect your ability to sense light — can be absolutely traumatizing. But thanks to new research on lab mice, these types of blindness may soon be reversible through a series of injections.
In the study, a group of blind lab mice were given injections of a chemical called acrylamide-azobenzene-quaternary ammonium, or AAQ for short. Previously known to be active on nerve cells, AAQ, when injected directly into a mouse's eye, allowed the animal to once again sense light. Though it's difficult for researchers to measure exactly how much of the mouse's sight was restored by the injection, lab testing has so far shown the mice regaining near-normal function.
So far, AAQ has only been tested on mice — upcoming primate tests will tell scientists whether or not this drug is a possible solution for treating retinitis pigmentosa or macular degeneration in humans. But even if tests point to AAQ's effectiveness, regular injections may not be a preferred solution. After all, AAQ's effects only last for about 24 hours on the mice before they require another injection directly into the eye.
[Image credit: Animal testing in laboratory via Shutterstock]
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