A team of scientists has announced that they had partially restored the sight of a blind man by building light-catching proteins in one of his eyes, The New York Times reports. Using a technique called optogenetics, researchers added light-sensitive proteins to the man’s retina, giving him a blurry view of objects.
Their report appeared in the journal Nature Medicine and is the first published study to describe the successful use of this treatment.
It’s still a far cry from full vision. The volunteer, a 58-year-old man who lives in France, was able to see a shadowy image of objects in a narrow field of view while wearing special goggles. But the authors of the report say that the trial, which is the result of 13 years of work, proves that the concept can be used for more effective treatments in the future.
“It’s obviously not the end of the road, but it’s a major milestone,” said Dr. José-Alain Sahel, the lead author of the study and an ophthalmologist who splits his time between the University of Pittsburgh and the Sorbonne in Paris.