While researchers are reluctant to call idebenone a cure for blindness, the drug has restored the vision of some people who suffer from hereditary blindness in a recent clinical study.

Fifty-five people with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy — which generally strikes men in their 20s and leaves them completely blind within three-to-six months — were included in the study.

Of the 30 who were given idebenone, as opposed to a placebo, 11 could read an extra two lines on a standard vision chart as a result of six months of daily treatment. Additionally, nine who couldn’t read any lines at all were able to do so after taking the drug.

The researcher’s report no significant side effects to idebenone, and believe there is a chance it could also be used to treat other forms of mitochondrial blindness.

[New Scientist]