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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7 Responses to “Artificial Retinal Implant May Restore Sight to Blind”

  • nicholas cort

    I have wet macular degen in left eye and dry in right. I see specialist (eye) regularly and get injections in left eye. I also have cataracts in both eyes. The doctors don’t want to operate on the cataracts until its really necessary as it could affect AMD. My question after all this is would i be a candidate for this implant considering i also have the cataracts. Thanks

  • Ari

    I’m afraid not. Too young. Sorry.

  • Madhan

    I have 9 months old kid was confirmed with retina detachment in both eyes and doctor told that only right eye can be operated and there is no hope for left eye we went to numbers of doctors to find treatment finally he was operated by Dr subhadra Jalali in Hyderabad India. But still no sign of vision only light perception in right eye.
    Can we restore his sight with artificial retinal implant for 9 months kid?

    Madhan Vatte

  • syed adnan ayub

    my uncle is blind he has a problem in his Retina. can an artificial retina be transplanted ?…if yes how much is the chance of success

  • Risa Schulman

    The website for CSEM has a contact page where you can e-mail them, or their phone number is +41 32 720 5111.

  • ari weitzner

    i can only suggest going to their website to find out.

  • Ryan

    This is fascinating. I am blind due to retinal damage in both eyes, each eye has a different type of damage, either way resulting in blindness in both eyes. According to the post they will be conducting clinical trials in 2013. Where could I get information to determine if I would be a candidate for the clinical trials?