Light-powered bionic eye invented to help restore sight
Published: 14th May 2012 14:03:05
A retinal implant - or bionic eye - which is powered by light has been invented by scientists at Stanford University in California.
Implants currently used in patients need to be powered by a battery.
The new device, described in the journal Nature Photonics, uses a special pair of glasses to beam near infrared light into the eye.
This powers the implant and sends the information which could help a patient see.
Diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and retinal pigmentosa result in the death of cells which can detect light in the eye.
Eventually this leads to blindness.
Retinal implants stimulate the nerves in the back of the eye, which has helped some patients to see.
Early results of a trial in the UK mean two men have gone from being totally blind to being able to perceive light and even some shapes.
However, as well as a fitting a chip behind the retina, a battery needs to be fitted behind the ear and a cable needs to join the two together.
Prof Robert MacLaren from Oxford Eye Hospital explains how a bionic eye implant works
The Stanford researchers say their method could be a step forward by "eliminating the need for complex electronics and wiring".
A retinal implant, which works in a similar way to a solar panel, is fitted in the back of the eye.
A pair of glasses fitted with a video camera records what is happening before a patient's eyes and fires beams of near infrared light on to the retinal chip.
The creates an electrical signal which is passed on to nerves.
Natural light is 1,000 times too weak to power the implant.
The researchers said: "Because the photovoltaic implant is thin and wireless, the surgical procedure is much simpler than in other retinal prosthetic approaches.
"Such a fully integrated wireless implant promises the restoration of useful vision to patients blinded by degenerative retinal diseases."
The implant has not been tested in people, but has been shown to work in rats.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Light-powered bionic eye invented to help restore sight. [Online] (Updated 14 May 2012)
Available at: http://www.manchesterwired.co.uk/news.php/1428423-Light-powered-bionic-eye-invented-to-help-restore-sight [Accessed 19th June 2013]
At 10:52:25 in OtherThe families of soldiers killed in Iraq can pursue damages against the government under the Human Rights Act, the Supreme Court has ruled....
At 07:44:02 in OtherSome breast cancer sufferers could be treated with radiotherapy instead of more invasive surgery after a Europe-wide study....
At 06:12:16 in OtherPeople living in London's East Ham are more likely to be the victims of identity fraud than anyone else in the UK, figures suggest. ...
At 01:52:36 in HeadlinesSupreme Court judges will rule later on whether relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq can sue the government for damages under the Human Righ...
At 20:47:00 in OtherPolice investigating how a 12-year-old girl got a serious head injury in a Bolton park have concluded it happened by accident. ...
At 20:02:36 in OtherA man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a woman was found dead at a house in Greater Manchester....
At 19:00:51 in OtherA 13-year-old girl was raped on her way to school in Greater Manchester....
At 18:39:05 in OtherA woman was raped by a number of men during a house party in a "disgusting" attack, police have said....
At 13:44:40 in OtherIan Brady is banned from carrying pens in case he uses them as a weapon after a confrontation at his secure mental hospital, a tribunal has ...
At 10:50:26 in OtherMuseums in three northern cities which faced uncertain futures are "safe" from closure, the culture minister has said....
News In Other Categories
Environment Minister Alex Attwood has said there should not be a car park "free-for-all" near Northern Ireland's airports....
The average single person in their twenties will now have to save for over 14 years before they can buy a home, says the housing charity She...
The head of America's electronic spying agency has told Congress surveillance programmes leaked by Edward Snowden helped thwart 50 atta...
Gunmen have opened fire inside a UN office in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, following a loud explosion, witnesses have said....
More than 50 years of travelling invisible interplanetary highways around our Solar System, and nearly a decade of orbiting Saturn, have bro...
Entertainer Freddie Starr has been bailed for another two months over allegations of sexual offences. ...