A recent study has focused on the communication processes between cells that could perhaps be extrapolated to prevent the spread of damaged cells, leading to blindness.
Normally cells have a blood supply to send nutrients from one cell to the other, enabling communication. For cells that don't have that, there has to be tiny bridge like connections, which enables movement of molecules to and fro in the same way. This type of a communication network is found in cells of the eye.
AdvertisementWhat is beneficial in one way may be harmful in another way. For example, if a cell is damaged, then the damage is communicated to the neighboring cell also, thereby damaging it. The damage continues to spread, leading to severe eye damage if the gap junctions are not closed off.
If some mechanism is invented to close this channel between the cells, the damage can be restricted to the parent cell and protecting the rest. Research is currently being done to develop a chemical that would stop the spread of damaged cells. The main concern for scientists in the process of injecting the chemical into the eye is to do so without damaging the retina.
The blood brain barrier, which restricts the certain drugs or other substances from reaching the brain and eye, poses serious technical difficulties. If this difficulty were overcome, the treating eye disorder would be made all the more simple.