Bionic Eyes

My grandmother had a genetic eye disease called Macular Degeneration during her lifetime.  This caused her to gradually go blind but still retain her peripheral vision.

I was reading about a new break in science where they are creating a retinal implant for the eye that will help patients with this issue.  The implants take over the cells that are degenerating and convert light into neural signals that are then interpreted by the brain.

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Other versions of this device in a simpler mode have been tested in the past in humans, giving them rudimentary vision and a limited ability to detect light (and sometimes they were able to distinguish between simple objects).  USC and other institutions have tested it and one patient claimed to be able to perceive the sensation of players' in a soccer game as they move by her vision.

This new design, developed by Mark Humayun and others with USC, is created out of a tiny chip that's dotted with hair-thin electrodes.  When placed in the retina of the patient, the electrodes transmit electrical signals from the chip to the neural cells in the eye, which then follow to the brain.

I'm excited to see where this goes in time and I'll be watching the news for this new technology.  I know it will help many gain eyesight they are losing and that's encouraging that our technological world can make changes even in the medical field.

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