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University of Washington researchers may have found a key to helping people with degenerative blindness restore their sight.

UW Medicine researchers, working with researchers at the University of California and the University of Munich, say they have discovered a chemical that temporarily restores some vision to blind mice.

They re now working on an improved version that may someday work on people with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that is the most common inherited form of blindness, as well as age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of acquired blindness in the developed world.

Researchers say because the chemical eventually wears off, it may offer a safer alternative to other experimental approaches for restoring sight, such as gene or stem cell therapies, which permanently change the retina. It is also less invasive than implanting light-sensitive chips in the eye.

The findings appear in the July 26th issue of the journal Neuron.

Information compiled by KING5's Travis Pittman

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