eye close upA new report out of the University of Southampton suggests researchers may have found the key to preventing and even curing blindness. According to Gizmag, scientists have found a way to easily collect corneal cells from the corneal limbus — a thick region located at the front of the eye — and use those in place degraded retinal cells.

Because the corneal limbus is so thick, and due to its prominent location at the front of the eye, surgically accessing cells leaves little to minimal damage in patients. In addition, the reason the corneal cells are so coveted is because they have “stem cell-like properties.” That basically means they have the ability to essentially transform into other types of cells. In this case, the corneal cells took “on some of the properties of retinal cells,” Gizmag said.

What that means for folks facing vision loss is the replacement of non-functioning retinal cells — and there’s little chance the transplanted cells would be rejected because they’d come from the patient’s own eye. Never take any of your five senses for granted, especially vision. Research like this gives hope to current and future generations that we may one day find the answer to life-changing eye conditions.

[via Gizmag]