aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Treating blindness

This is a terrible confession to make, but in the couple of years since I finished writing Girl, Stolen, I worried that they would come up with a cure for blindness.

Yes, I know that makes me a terrible person.

But if it happened, it meant that the whole premise of my book would be moot.

Recently I heard a story on NPR about how a promising treatment for blindness had ended up not working out. Not because they didn't get the eyes to work - but because the brain had forgotten.

It begins:
On the day Mike May's bandages came off in March 2000, TV cameras were there to capture the drama. Scientists, the story went, may have finally found a way to cure at least some kinds of blindness.

May went blind when he was just 3 years old when a jar of chemicals exploded in his face. The accident destroyed one of his eyes entirely, and it badly scarred the other. But 43 years later, two surgeries were supposed to bring that vision back. In the first, doctors used stem cells to repair the surface of his surviving eye. Once that healed, they attached a transplanted cornea. May now had a perfectly functioning eye.

Well, sort of.

May could see the basic outlines of his wife Jennifer's face. But he says it was frustrating because he couldn't really recognize what it was he was seeing.
Read and hear more here.

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