Scientists are using stem cell-infused contact lenses to restore sight to people with corneal damage and related blindness.
While still experimental, the process starts with harvesting limbal stem cells from the eyes of the patient or a donor). These are special cells the body naturally produces whenever it needs to repair a minor corneal problem with your eye, such as damage from dust, debris and even blinking; if you don't have enough of them, your vision becomes compromised. The collected limbal stem cells are then grown directly on contact lenses. When worn by a patient with corneal damage, these specially coated lenses transfer the stem cells from the contact to the cornea, where they repair and regenerate tissue. Researchers in Australia found that two out of three legally blind patients who tried the contacts regained some sight. And the third? The third patient passed the vision test of a driving exam [source: Smith].