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How Bone Marrow Transplant Can Affect Eyesight

Despite a number of bone transplant cases every year, many people are still unaware of this lifesaving procedure. Bone marrow is a very useful soft and spongy tissue that is found in our bones and is responsible for producing hematopoietic stem cells. Once produced, the stem cells can later develop in red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells. The bone marrow transplant helps to replace the stem cells that are faulty, cancerous or have been destroyed by the radiation or chemotherapy.
A study conducted recently by Kele University in Japan showed that after a transplant procedure, the transplanted immune cells can sometimes recognize the graft recipient as something foreign in a similar way the immune system can recognize a bacteria as a foreign thing. This may result in an attack on the host tissues, In case this attack takes place in the eyes, then it can lead to vision problem and excessive fibrosis.

The EMT (epithelial-mesenchymal transition) has been characterized by the change in the cells from the adherent to mobile and is now associated with a fibrotic disease. The studies are now explored on the role EMT plays in eyesight problem after a bone-marrow transplant. Several features of the EMT have been observed in the eyes after a patient undergoes bone marrow transplantation. Some of these features include up-regulation of the EMT markers and down-regulation of the adhesion molecules in the epithelial cells. With these results, there is an indication the EMT can partially be responsible for the fibrotic eye damage following the bone marrow transplant.

Another eyesight problem that the bone marrow transplant patient is likely to suffer is the GvHD (Graft versus host disease), which often attacks the eyes. For those who are not affected by GvHD, they’ll experience gritty, dry or irritated eyes. The remedy for this problem is simple eyes drops to reduce irritation and lubricate your eyes. Sometimes a patient can also suffer from cataracts which are cloudy patches commonly found in the eye’s lens. Cataracts can cause misty or blurred vision making it difficult to see at night. This condition is quite common with patients who have undergone a transplant. Once you experience this problem, it is important to see an ophthalmologist for specialist investigation.

Other problems associated with bone marrow transplant include fertility problems, skin changes, and joint aches. When it comes to fertility problems, chemotherapy which is normally associated with the bone marrow transplant causes the loss of masculinity or femininity. The GvHD is also responsible for skin problem in some patients. Patients will experience sensitive and drier skin for sometime after the transplant. This problem is normally caused by chemotherapy and certain medications. After your bone marrow transplant, you need to protect your skin by using sun creams and avoiding direct sunlight. Some patients have complained about the loss of strength, pains and aches in their joints and muscles. Others suffer from numbness and tingling in their feet. However, these problems do improve over time You can download flashlight app for Android for patients to help them in their day to day life while slowly recovering from the effect of the transplant to their eyesight especially at night.