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Lens of human eye can be fully regenerated, at least in newborns (evidenceba.se)
98 points by krzysiek on May 20, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 35 comments

I had to have my lenses removed from both eyes when I was a child (in the 70s). The problem in my case was that they were dislocated.

Since the surgery, I wore very thick glasses to correct it. I switched to contacts in the early 80s (contact lens tech was barely viable by then) augmented with reading glasses.

Today I wear contacts to get to 20/20 or 20/30, and reading glasses for computer work or reading. My correction is around +8.25 or so for each eye.

This is very exciting news and I hope kids don't have to go through the pain of wearing super thick glasses growing up.

Bilateral aphakics unite!

Congenital cataracts run in my family and, as luck would have it, I inherited the condition from my Dad. I had both my lenses removed when I was an infant in the mid/late 80's. I wore both contacts and glasses until I was 5, when I was switched to just contacts with monovision. My correction is a bit higher, around +13, to get me about 20/35.

Luckily my daughter didn't inherit the condition, but it was a major concern throughout my wife's pregnancy. It's good to know it may not be an issue if we ever decide to have another.

This is indeed very exciting.

That's interesting. My problem is that I suffer from a connective tissue disorder. And, as it happens, it was the connective tissue between the lens and eye that gave out.

oh man. I have a connective tissue disorder that messes with my joints pretty bad but I had _no idea_ this was a concern!

They won't - high index materials have made coke bottle lenses a thing of the past.

At a price, though: high-index plastic has much higher dispersion than the lower-index materials. This causes a greater "prism effect" near the edges of the lens, which interacts very badly with the new RGB-backlight monitors [0].

[0] http://scottlburson2.blogspot.com/2016/01/lcd-backlights-and...

Yeah, I have a pair of those for when I'm not wearing contacts and the chromatic aberration drives me nuts.

I had a bit of that when I got my next-most-recent pair of glasses. It took less than a week before I stopped noticing it entirely. I don't think my current pair have the problem, but I'm not sure I could tell any more.

Maybe that is why I see yellow all the time on the edges.

I never got Coke bottle lenses. Those are for people who have no peripheral vision. The Coke bottle design is supposed to bring the peripheral into the area the patient can perceive.

What drive me nuts about my glasses is that it effective took my peripheral vision away, making me seem way more clumsy and uncoordinated than I would otherwise have been.

How is it that you have no lenses, yet my correction is still higher! (around +10.25).

I'm not an optometrist but I imagine your lenses are working against you so you need to compensate extra. Also: your eyeball shape is working against you.

Not all focusing happens in the lens. The eyeball fluid does malt of the work actually.

How does one see without lenses?

It's equally blurry at all distances. Small or distant things are much harder to resolve.

Wow, don't know much about it but my dad got new eyeball lenses, blows my mind.

Intraocular lenses can be surgically implanted to correct the vision I think.


But when I had my eyes fixed the tech left too much scarring for me to benefit from that procedure. I do ask about it periodically just in case the situation changes.

UCSD press release: http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/pressrelease/stem_cells_regenerate_...

Nature abstract: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v531/n7594/full/nature1...

Obligatory Nature paper DOI ident for sci-hub lookup: doi:10.1038/nature17181

Exactly. Here are the most important points from the full Nature paper: http://evidenceba.se/sources/42-lens-regeneration-using-endo...

This is absolutely possible. I know a woman who's entire eye was removed when she was a child, and it grew back completely about 30 years later. No one quite understands why (or why it took 30 years), but the human body is full of surprises.

You got to provide more info than that! Was it suddenly regrown? Or grew in spurts? Slow and steady? At what point did they decide it was regrown? How well does it work? Or is this like some joke I would tell my kids how my leg was chopped off as a child but later grew back?

I should track her down again because its been a few years. But from what I recall, it was slow and steady over maybe 6-8 months. When we met last, it wasn't quite 100% done: the eye was mostly there but it looked cloudy and she was keeping gause over it, so I don't think it "worked" all that well yet. But it did move in sync with the other eye.

Stranger things have happened. My curiosity is still piqued though.

As I understand the matter, these sorts of interventions have/should be done as soon as possible after birth. The developing brain needs the visual feedback to develop vision properly. So it is good news to see them focusing on younger patients.

My son did the older surgery when he was a newborn. I just wish we had to do this surgery now instead (or if we can benefit in anyway from this new technique.)

Note: did the surgery at "Associated Retinal Consultants." I can't read this without getting too emotional, and am not sure if this is considered a totally new thing or if we just missed out on this possibility then.

This study was published 2 months ago. I was doing the research because my mom had a cataract surgery, and now she got diagnosed with posterior capsule opacification. I haven't found anything else. It seems like that's a very new thing.

Having the rear capsule become cloudy is pretty normal following cataract surgery. There is a YAG laser procedure called YAG capsulotomy where they put a hole in the area that is clouded up. The prosthetic lense stays in place and the cloudiness is gone. You can expect a floater that shifts around following the surgery.

I got cataract surgery in one eye a few years ago. I am much younger than the average patient. It's not as good as what you have naturally when you are young but it sure beats what you have with a cataract. In my case, the floater did become mostly unnoticeable within a year. It didn't really impede my daily life before that.

Thanks for sharing your experience. I found the info about YAG laser, and also that's the recommendation that my mom got, but it's great to read about an optimistic outcome. It seems to me that for now YAG is the best option.

As a parent, I get the emotional reaction. You want to provide the absolute best for your child, and this feels like a total missed opportunity.

But as someone who had cataract surgery as a newborn, please don't fret about it too much. I don't know how old your son is or when his surgery was, but bilateral aphakia is something that has become more of an inconvenience than anything else. It certainly shouldn't limit his options in life. (Unless his heart is set on joining the military, like I was. But, as they say, I really dodged a bullet there.)

So since eyes don't grow in size from birth, could everyone have their lens removed early on to be saved as a potential replacement for later on in life? Would there be any benefit to doing this since there's already operations such as lasyk?

> So since eyes don't grow in size from birth

That isn't true.

I feel bad for whichever newborn needed such surgery :(

It's rare but not all that rare.


It'll be great if they can do this for older people eventually, so we don't need to wear reading glasses.

Maybe it is based on stem cell availability?

Younger you are, more you have?

Guess they would have figured that out though.

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