A newly-developed retinal implant may soon be available for people with central vision loss from macular degeneration and similar diseases. The device is similar to the recently-approved Argus II prosthesis for people with more severe blindness.
Like the Argus II, a tiny video camera mounted on special glasses captures the image, and a pocket controller relays the signal to the implant. The implant then sends the signal to the brain, bypassing lost retinal cells. However, unlike the Argus II, which contains 60 electrodes, the new device has more than 256 electrodes, allowing for images with a larger number of pixels. This is expected to give patients a more refined visual image. Users of the retinal implant will also be able to adjust the implant according to their needs.
The implant is inserted into the sub-retinal space. Placement closer to the retinal nerve cells should improve the safety of the device and enhance the visual outcome.
The Boston Retinal Implant Project was responsible for bringing the implant to light. It was developed with the help of W. Kinzy Jones (professor in the College of Engineering and Computing, Florida International University).
Source: Florida International University