Until recently, age-related degenerative vision loss was considered a natural and inevitable sign of aging in the body. However, recent studies have shown that this is a reversible process, retinal degradation can be slowed down, and already destroyed areas can be repaired or replaced. Previously, bulky implants were used for these purposes, but now doctors have the opportunity to use nanoparticles for this.
An international team of scientists is exploring the potential of conjugated polymer nanoparticles (P3HT-NP). These are light-sensitive elements that are designed to respond to light and transmit a signal to neurons in the retina. That is, to replace the degraded areas of the retina like patches. P3HT-NP do not require an energy source to work and function passively, without affecting the functioning of the rest of the eye.
To test the effectiveness of the technique, a study was conducted on rats with retinitis pigmentosa, a disease characterized by a gradual deterioration of vision. The experimental animals received only one injection of P3HT-NP, after which the researchers saw an improvement in retinal activity and a return to visual acuity. In fact, a single treatment session completely healed the half-blind rats, and this effect has been lasting for eight months.
Nanoparticles stimulated the activation of intact neurons in the retinal structure, and it was possible to do without inflammatory processes. This is very encouraging and gives a chance to learn how to use nanoparticles for the treatment of other degenerative diseases of the organs of vision.