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  • Discovery of Artificial Retina with the Hope of Enhancing the Sight for the Blind

Scientists have been trying different approaches to develop an implant that can see light and send visual signals to a person’s brain, countering the effects of AMD and related vision disorders.

The loss of eyesight is often caused by retinal damage. As the person age, it becomes a life-revamping health issue for many people. But a new development towards a prosthetic retina could significantly help reverse conditions that result from problems with this crucial part of eye. Researchers have developed an usual wireless, light sensitive and flexible film that could probably act as an imitation for damaged retina.Investigators at Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Centers for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and Newcastle University in UK, tested a film with a chick retina that normally does not reciprocate to light.

They found that the film absorbed light and in response sparked neuronal activity. The chip translates the light pattern that reaches into the eye which gets coded into electric pulses and the mini-projector then translates them into light pulses. The light pulses trigger the light sensitive proteins which have been inserted into ganglion cells, resulting the brain to receive coded neural pulses.

Researchers tested the film with a chick retina that normally does not respond to light. They found that the film absorbed light provoking the neuronal activity.

In comparison to other technologies, the researchers concluded that they are more durable, productive and flexible as well as better in terms of invigorating neurons.

Coded Neural Signals: Its unique feature:

The artificial retina assimilates a unique feature, the neural code, a signal that is used by retina cells to convey the visual information to the brain. Assembling the code with the ability to stimulate large number of light-sensitive cells produces a system that gives the brain the actual type of information in order to see.

Yael Hanein and Colleagues point out that a spreading range of medical devices has become accessible in order to ameliorate the conditions that include visual impairment. This involves sending the sensory signals to brain. Patient with one type of eye disorder is called age related macular degeneration (AMD).

The researchers combined semiconductor nano-rods and carbon nano-tubes in order to develop a wireless, light sensitive flexible film that could potentially act in the place of damaged retina. But this method only produces very rough visual fields. Though the cells are stimulated but are not receiving the right signals, a sort of neural equivalent of white noise.

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4 Comments

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