There are clinics and companies abroad offering stem cell treatments with a very high price tag. Currently stem cells are not approved as a treatment for the retina or optic nerve anywhere in the world, and at this time there is no scientific evidence or published results of previous clinical trials that support the use of these treatments.
With stem cell injections can come a risk of eye infections, further damage to the eye and even a risk of tumours in the eye. The therapies these companies are offering are likely to be unregulated and untested for safety and benefit. It would be considered ethically unjustified for specialists here in the UK to administer these procedures. They could do harm that might jeopardise the potential to benefit from other treatments in the future.
The website “A closer look at stem cells” offers more information about the issues surrounding commercial stem cell treatments.
“It’s important to interrogate the science and ask “Is there evidence?”. You have to be incredibly cynical.”
Rob Henderson, ophthalmic surgeon