New retinal implants seek to improve eye sight

New retinal implants seek to improve eye sight

For the 15 million Americans who have been diagnosed with macular degeneration, vision deteriorates slowly. From the center of the eye out, it’s the leading cause of blindness and there is no cure.

Now, a new implant could keep these patients from completely losing their sight.

Virginia Knepper Doyle’s art has been showcased around the world. But at 83, her canvas time is running out. Virginia has wet macular degeneration and is now legally blind.

“It’s like looking through thick sand,” Doyle said.

Stanford ophthalmologist Daniel Palanker is developing the first-of-its-kind, minimally invasive, retinal implant that could give sight to people like Virginia.

“People will not even be considered blind anymore,” Dr. Palanker stated.

The implant is made of tiny pixels that convert light into electrical current.

“This is one module of an implant,” Dr. Palanker explained. “We plan to have many of them. Each module is about 1 millimeter in diameter.”

These modules are implanted at the bottom of the retina. The patient wears goggles that contain a camera that captures the image. The image is then processed using pulses near infrared light and turned into electrical signals. Finally, those signals stimulate neural cells that are transmitted to the brain, restoring sight.

“So when you wear the goggles, you see the display basically as a screen in front of you. And so it’s, uh, blurred images, uh, but, uh, to the extent that I can read large fonts and recognize faces.” ……..

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Source: WNDU 16