Researchers have developed a new way to restore human vision by utilizing how the retina communicates with the brain and with each other to develop a device that sends an image to ganglion cells which delivers a clearer image to the brain via an "encoder". Artificial vision devices in current use may successfully give back partial vision to blind patients but the size of the microelectrodes in the device as well what is used to power the device limit the patient to seeing only a few blurred images. This new technology brings a higher level of acuity to the table. The technique that was developed is called "optogenic stimulation" and works by using an image sensor in the eye to send a digital image to the encoder which in turn, sends the special encoded image to a microscopic projector. Ganglion cells (which have received gene therapy) receive the light from the projector and are able to respond to the light in a similar way as the missing rods and cones would have. The result is a much clearer image than is currently available via other artificial vision devices. Thus far, experiments have only been conducted on mouse retinas but researchers believe that humans are ready to receive the treatment as well.
Retinal communication source of new form of artificial vision
- by Dr. Paul Krawitz
- 30 August, 2012