Technology is waiting to welcome another major breakthrough in the realms of medical care. A team consisting of scientists from USA, Israel and from different countries of Europe is developing a bionic retina implant that can restore vision of the blinds. People with blindness caused by retinal degenerative diseases could get their vision back using this bionic retina. The clinical trial of the bionic retina implantation is likely to begin in 2013.
The new bionic retina can restore sight to completely blind people only if the blindness is caused by a retinal disease with problems like macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or other degenerative eye diseases.
The new implant is called Bio-Retina. It is developed by an Israeli company named Nano Retina. The basic concept of Bio-Retina begins with vision-restoring photo sensors. The photo sensors (receptors) receive the light and convert the light into electrical signals. The electrodes attached to the implant pass the electric signals to the neurons of the eye. The signal is then carried to the brain, and thereby restoring the vision.
There are three shortcomings of the implant, though. One is that the implant (second generation) receives images equivalent to 5000 pixels only. The second shortcoming is that the implant can only reproduce images in black and white. And the last is that you would have to use However, the Bio-Retina system comes with a standard pair of corrective lenses, which will also work to power the implant using solar energy.
To fit the implant into the eye a small operation would have to be performed. The operation would only take 30 minutes. The Bio-Retina with a 24 × 24 resolution (576 pixel) sensor is exactly placed on top of the damaged retina. The 576 electrodes on the back of the sensor implant themselves into the optic nerves. An embedded image processor converts the data from each of the pixels into electrical pulses. Later these electrical pulses are coded in such a way where the brain can perceive different levels of grayscale.
The bionic retina impant is going to cost you $60,000. And, commercial availability of the implant won’t come before 2013.