A Bionic Eye is Now A Reality!

diabetic retinopathyScientists in at least 7 companies, including 2 in the U.S., have begun implanting retinal prostheses in individuals with eye disorders like retinitis pigmentosa or age-related macular degeneration, but only when the optic nerve and visual cortex are unaffected.

These "bionic eyes" enable the patient to see by stimulating the sensation of vision in their eyes.  In these patients, the outer cells of the retina are typically damaged, but the inner cells may be fully or partially intact.  Therefore, these optical prostheses essentially bypass the outer cells and transmit signals directly to the inner cells, enabling the patient to see.

Of the 7 companies offering such a solution, none has implanted their device in more than 30 patients - a title held by Sylmar, CA-based Second Sight Medical Products - so these products are still in their infancy.  However, there is much promise for the future.

Retina Prosthesis

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