Through a combination of gene therapy, eyeglass cameras, and visual cortex implantation, partial restoration of vision in those suffering from disorders such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may become a reality.
Researchers are attempting to bypass the damaged retina and create new photo-receptors in the visual cortex (through gene therapy). These new photo-receptors would receive stimulation through an implant powered by induction coils, similar to those found in cochlear implants.
The visual cortex implant receives its information through a pair of glasses equipped with cameras tracking eye position and what is in the person’s line of site. These glass would be similar to the body or ear-level processors of modern cochlear implants.
While clinical application is still a few years away, the future of vision implants is certainly bright.
Colins F. (2019) The Amazing Brain: Making Up for Lost Vision. NIH Director’s Blog. August 27.
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