Tags: artificial | retina | blind

Artificial Retina may Restore Vision

Tuesday, 21 Aug 2012 01:40 PM


Scientists have created an artificial retina that they expect could soon be used to restore sight to the blind, based on tests of the prosthetic device in mice and monkeys.
The researchers, from New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, said they have deciphered the retina's neural code for brain communication to create the novel prosthetic retinal device.
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The scientists called the breakthrough, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a remarkable advance in research aimed at restoring vision to the blind.
Current prosthetics provide blind users with spots and edges of light to help them get around. But the new device can restore normal vision – allowing users to discern facial features and follow moving images.
The researchers said they hope to quickly design and test a device that blind people can use.
"It's an exciting time,” said lead researcher, Dr. Sheila Nirenberg, a computational neuroscientist at Weill Cornell. "We can make blind mouse retinas see, and we're moving as fast as we can to do the same in humans."
She said she envisions a day when the blind can wear a visor-like camera device, similar to those used on the television show Star Trek, that will take in light and use a computer chip to turn it into a code the brain can translate into an image.
This new approach provides hope for the 25 million people with blindness due to diseases of the retina. Because drug therapies help only a few, prosthetic devices are their best option for future sight.
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health.
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Scientists have created an artificial retina they say could soon be used to restore sight to the blind.
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Tuesday, 21 Aug 2012 01:40 PM
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