An electronic retinal implant designed for the treatment of blindness due to Retinitis Pigmentosa, a type of inherited eye disease which affects the retina, is making news. Following up on our last post about brain implants and artificial eyes, another astonishing device is in development, this time aan inventive use of a miniature vido camera.
“Diseases that damage the retina are a leading cause of vision loss. “What happens is that the light sensing cells, rods and cones, are no longer there, and therefore when the light goes into the eye, the patient cannot see in these areas,” explains Mark Humayun, M.D., Professor of ophthalmology and biomedical engineering at the Doheny Eye Institute, part of the University of Southern California.”
The retinal implant comprises an array of electrodes on a chip which is attached surgically to the retina. It receives images wirelessly from a miniature lightweight video camera attached to a pair of glasses worn by the patient. This system provides a rudimentary form of sight to implanted subjects, and has already restored partial sight to patients with total vision loss.
In January of 2007, the FDA approved clinical trials of the retinal implant> Trials will go on over the next two to three years across the U.S.
Imagine being there to see the expression on one these patient’s faces the first time they get fitted with this device and are able to get visuals? Now, can you imagine how incredible it would be to see for the first time?