A Cure for Blindness?
It is estimated that 170 million people worldwide suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMC). This is a serious eye condition that begins with the death of light-sensitive cells in the retina. While there are treatments for AMC to slow the process down, including vitamins, laser surgery, stem cell treatment, and even implantable miniature telescopes, the end result is usually the same – total blindness.
While the FDA has previously approved some technologies to help restore limited vision in individuals with AMC and other degenerative disorders, most of those were rather cumbersome. Recently, a new device has been created and shows great promise. Researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa and the University of California, San Diego, have created an artificial retina that can be implanted entirely inside the eye. It is the hope of the researches that this will provide great relief to those suffering from macular degeneration. The new prosthesis is designed to be implanted onto the back wall of the eye, where it absorbs light and transforms it into an electrical signal that stimulates the still-active retinal cells to restore vision.
These devices are still experimental and require many more years of testing, but the researchers are excited at the results so far.