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8-year-old blind boy sees stars, planes for the first time

[Oct. 18, 2020: Zaini Majeed]

An 8-year-old boy in Toronto, Canada became the first patient to be able to see again post a rare gene replacement therapy. According to sources of local CTV, the kid was born with an impaired vision due to a rare genetic disorder called retinitis pigmentosa, which causes mutations in the RPE65 gene. While the Canadian boy had decreased vision at night, and during low light conditions, after the miraculous therapy, he reported that he was able to see stars and that he hadn’t seen them before.

Sam told Canadian network CTV, that sometimes when he had to walk during the night in the dark, he would bump into objects because his vision was gone. He must always have lights on, the 8-year-old boy’s doctor informed, and his condition was progressive. Sam couldn’t make out the objects such as shoes or tables or any other material lying on the floor. His condition, meanwhile, worsened with time as he grew older. While several people in Canada are reportedly living with visual impairment, it is most commonly believed that Sam’s condition retinitis pigmentosa had no viable treatment options available and the boy was conditioned to live with the disorder.


Field of vision shrank

However, in what was never anticipated before, the kid can now see the clouds, sky, and even stars at night, as he told the sources of CTV. Earlier, the boy was unable to see the stars or even airplanes flying in the night sky due to reduced vision. Dr. Elise Heon, who works at Sick Kids Hospital, Canada, told CTV that Sam’s ailment caused the loss of perception of light, which deteriorated with years.

The kid found himself in darkness, and that slowly progressed with his age because his field of vision kept shrinking. According to Fighting Blindness, an Irish NGO for the blind, 1 in 3,500 to 1 in 4,000 Canadians were impacted by retinitis pigmentosa and leads to a total loss of sight with age. While gene therapy for retinal diseases has a growing research potential, it still is approved in Canada. Therefore, Sam and his family had to travel to the US, last year. Sarah Banon, Sam’s mother told CTV that about a week later from his therapy, Sam could dress up his own self and get his shoes on by himself, independently.

This Brighter Side of News post courtesy of Republic World.


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