Blind mice regained some ability to see after getting transplants of cells taken from the eyes of other mice, researchers in Michigan and London reported.

The finding — by researchers from the University of Michigan and London’s Institute of Ophthalmology — strengthened the prospect that people may some day be able to restore their vision after losing their eyesight from macular degeneration, the Washington Post reported.

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the United States for people over age 50.

The researchers cautioned it would be years before similar efforts would be tried in people. But they said the study showed for the first time that light-detecting retina cells can orient themselves properly after being injected into a blind eye, connect to other nerve cells and communicate appropriately with visual centers in the brain.

The study is the first to suggest people who have already lost crucial light-sensitive cells, known as rods and cones, can have their vision restored.