Implantable Artificial Retina in the Works


Researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa and at the University of California, San Diego, have designed a fully implantable artificial retina. The finished product is still some way off being consumer-ready, but when complete it could restore sight to millions of people with degenerative eye diseases.

The Food and Drug Administration approved an artificial retina in 2013. The 'bionic eye' required a combination procedure in which electrodes were implanted to the retina's surface and the patient was required to wear glasses which contained a tiny camera and transmitter which relayed information to the implant. 

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The new device is designed to be implanted directly onto the back wall of the eye, negating the need for eyeglasses. The device would absorb light converting it into a signal which could restore retinal cells.

Doctor Grazia Pertile, one of the lead researchers, said the team's work could be ‘a turning point in the treatment of extremely debilitating retinal diseases.'

The full findings from the trial can be found on Nature.com.