Artificial Retinal Implant May Restore Sight to Blind
February 15, 2011
For those blind because of retinal impairment, an artificial retinal implant is being developed that may restore sight by relaying information to the optic nerve in place of a damaged retina. The implant consists of a chip with an imager and a network of electrodes, and is powered from the outside by a device placed into a normal pair of glasses.
The implant is being developed as a collaboration between two organizations: CSEM, an independent, private, non-profit, Swiss company dedicated to applied research, and Nano-Retina Inc, an Israeli company with laboratories in Israel and the US.
As explained in CSEM’s recent press release, in a healthy eye, light travels through the eyeball into the retina. The retinal photoreceptors react to the light by converting it into an electrical signal which is transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve. The brain thereafter recreates the image that we see.
So long as the nerve connections and the optic nerve are still functioning, the artificial retina will enable the relaying of the visual information to the brain in place of the damaged retinal photoreceptors. The information can then be processed and the transmitted visual data recreated.
The retinal implant is tiny, about the size of a child’s fingernail bed, and would take less than 30 minutes to implant by using a small incision and “gluing” the chip onto the retina under local anesthesia.
Clinical trials are to begin in 2013.
Click here to read the full press release on the CSEM website.
Risa Schulman, PhD
Expert, Healthy Food and Dietary Supplement Science, Marketing and Regulatory
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