Tags: eye | implants | vision

Eye Implants May Restore Sight

Tuesday, 15 May 2012 11:52 AM

Stanford University scientists have developed tiny solar-panel-like cells that could be surgically placed under the retinas of blind patients’ eyes to restore sight.
The device, created by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, could one day be used to return vision to people with degenerative eye diseases. It is designed to work with a pair of high-tech goggles, equipped with a miniature camera and pocket computer that processes visual images and displays them on a micro video screen.
The images are then beamed from the screen using lasers to a photovoltaic silicon chip — one-third the width of a strand of hair — implanted beneath the retina, and transmitted to the brain.
In a study published in Nature Photonics, the researchers explained how they are testing the system in rats. Next, they expect to conduct tests in humans.
"It works like the solar panels on your roof, converting light into electric current," explained researcher Daniel Palanker. "But instead of the current flowing to your refrigerator, it flows into your retina."
Two similar devices are in development, the researchers noted. A device made by the Los Angeles-based company Second Sight was approved in April for use in Europe, and the German company Retina Implant AG is testing another device in Europe.
But unlike the other devices — which use cables or antennas inside the eye to deliver visual information to the retinal implant — the Stanford device uses near-infrared laser light to transmit images, avoiding the need for wires and cables.
The device is designed to help people with age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the U.S. and retinitis pigmentosa.

© HealthDay

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Scientists have invented a new device - using lasers, goggles and a silicon chip - to restore vision to the blind.
Tuesday, 15 May 2012 11:52 AM
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