Tiny eye implant may help blind people

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a high-resolution retinal prosthesis that uses nanowires and wireless electronics to assist neurons in the retina in responding to light. The device will aid people suffering from eye diseases such as macular degeneration, and retinitis pigmentosa.

This new device differs from current retinal prostheses in that it does not require a vision sensor outside of the eye to capture visual scenes. The nanowires in the new device mimic the retina’s light-sensing cones and rods to directly stimulate retinal cells. The nanowires are powered by a single wireless electrical signal.

Researchers have successfully tested the device on a rat retina and now look to further develop and translate the technology into clinical use. Clinical trials will follow the current animal testing.*

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