Artificial retina could pioneer restorative surgery

13 November 2014

New progress has been made towards developing an artificial retina, which could help the millions of people that suffer with problems in this part of the eye, which is crucial for clear sight.

Loss of eyesight is often caused by retinal degeneration and is common for patients, especially as they get older. A new study, published in the American Chemical Society (ACS) journal Nano Letters, could help counter these common, but life-changing issues.

A team, led by Professor Yael Hanein from Tel Aviv University, highlighted that there are a growing range of medical devices with the ability to treat conditions, including visual impairment, that involve sending sensory signals to the brain. 

Patients with an eye disorder called age-related macular degeneration (AMD) - who have damage to a specific part of their retina - could benefit from such a device, the researchers said. Many studies have tried to develop an implant that can "see" light and send visual signals to a person's brain, but there have been numerous problems.

The researchers combined semiconductor nanorods and carbon nanotubes to create a wireless, light-sensitive, flexible film, which could replace a damaged retina. When tested, the team found that it absorbed light and sparked neuronal activity. 

Posted by Edward Bartel​

 

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