Stem Cells and Ocular Disorders: Basic Science to Clinical Applications
- Pp. 168-179 (12)Indumathi Mariappan, Subhash Gaddipati, Taraprasad Das, Geeta K. Vemuganti and Virender S. Sangwan
The visual function of an eye gets affected due to defects involving some of its major parts, such as the cornea, lens and retina. Simple refractive error corrections and advanced surgical procedures like cataract surgeries, corneal transplantations and others have revolutionized the treatment of ocular diseases in the past. However, the past decade has witnessed the promise of adult limbal stem cell transplantation (LSCT) for the reconstruction of ocular surface that has been damaged by chemical and thermal burns. LSCT has now become a widely accepted treatment modality in several clinics around the world. While this approach works well for the corneal epithelium, reconstruction of other damaged ocular tissues pose a greater challenge. The current interest is therefore to look for various sources of stem cells that can generate corneal endothelial cells for corneal endothelial dystrophies, glandular cells of the lacrimal epithelium for various dry eye conditions, retinal neurons and the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) for treating glaucoma-induced vision loss and other age-related and hereditary retinal dystrophies. Apart from some of the adult ocular stem cell sources, the embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and the recently introduced induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have come to the forefront and have kindled a lot of hope for ocular regenerative medicine in the future.