Microchips Implanted in Retinas Restore (Some) Eyesight to the Blind

80beatsBy Eliza StricklandNov 3, 2010 10:32 PM
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In an exciting pilot study, blind people equipped with microchips in their retinas were able to see again — at least dimly — and were able to make out shapes.

Ed Yong explains how the experiment helped a study participant named Miikka:

In people like Miikka with retinitis pigmentosa, the light-detecting cells of the retina break down with age. Eberhart Zrenner and a team of German scientists have designed a chip that does the same job as these defunct cells. Just a few millimetres across, it contains 1,500 light-detecting diodes that detect light and convert it into a current. The brighter the light that hits the chip, the stronger the current it puts out. The current is delivered directly to the bipolar cells, which would normally transmit the signals from the retina’s actual light detectors.

Find out more about how the technology works and get the full story on Miikka and his fellow experiment subjects at Not Exactly Rocket Science.

And check out the videos of Miikka trying out his new eyes below.

Related Content:

Not Exactly Rocket Science: Retinal Implant Partially Restores Sight in Blind People

80beats: The Eyes Have It: Lab-Made Corneas Restore Vision

80beats: Stem Cell Treatment Lets Those With Scorched Corneas See Again

80beats: The Part of the Brain That Lets the Blind See Without Seeing

80beats: Gene Therapy Cures Color Blindness in Monkeys

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