Prosthetic retina could help in restoring sight
Those suffering from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the most common causes of blindness can get relief from this problem in the future. In a major development scientists are about to develop a prosthetic retina which is capable enough to restore sight to patients.
The thin silicon device prepared by scientist acts by electrically stimulating neurons (nerve cells) in the retina, which are left relatively unharmed by the effects of AMD while other image capturing cells, called as photoreceptors, are lost. This device needs no wires and its surgical implantation is also very easy.
Keith Mathieson, co-author and reader at the Institute of Photonics, University of Strathclyde, UK, said: "AMD is a huge medical challenge and, with an aging population, is continuing to grow. This means that innovative, practical solutions are essential if sight is to be restored to people around the world with the condition,? reports the journal Nature Photonics.
"The current implants are very bulky, and the surgery to place the intraocular wiring for receiving, processing and power is difficult. With our device, the surgeon needs only to create a small pocket beneath the retina and then slip the photovoltaic cells inside it," Jim Loudin Daniel Palanker, study co-author from the Stanford University has been quoted saying.
"The implant is thin and wireless and so is easier to implant. Since it receives information on the visual scene through an infra-red beam projected through the eye, the device can take advantage of natural eye movements that play a crucial role in visual processing," said Mathieson, says a Strathclyde and Stanford statement.
AMD leads to a loss of vision in the centre of the visual field (the macula) as retina got damaged. It happens in "dry" and "wet" forms. This medical condition can make it difficult or impossible to identify faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to enable day to day activities of life.
--with inputs from IANS
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