Concise review: Using stem cells to prevent the progression of myopia - A concept

Miroslaw Janowski, Jeff W.M. Bulte, James T. Handa, David Rini, Piotr Walczak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The prevalence of myopia has increased in modern society due to the educational load of children. This condition is growing rapidly, especially in Asian countries where it has already reached a pandemic level. Typically, the younger the child's age at the onset of myopia, the more rapidly the condition will progress and the greater the likelihood that it will develop the known sight-threatening complications of high myopia. This rise in incidence of severe myopia has contributed to an increased frequency of eye diseases in adulthood, which often complicate therapeutic procedures. Currently, no treatment is available to prevent myopia progression. Stem cell therapy can potentially address two components of myopia. Regardless of the exact etiology, myopia is always associated with scleral weakness. In this context, a strategy aimed at scleral reinforcement by transplanting connective tissue-supportive mesenchymal stem cells is an attractive approach that could yield effective and universal therapy. Sunlight exposure appears to have a protective effect against myopia. It is postulated that this effect is mediated via local ocular production of dopamine. With a variety of dopamine-producing cells already available for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, stem cells engineered for dopamine production could be used for the treatment of myopia. In this review, we further explore these concepts and present evidence from the literature to support the use of stem cell therapy for the treatment of myopia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2104-2113
Number of pages10
JournalStem Cells
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Dopamine
  • Eye
  • Mesenchymal
  • Myopia
  • Nearsightedness
  • Sclera
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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