It is estimated that somewhere in the ballpark of 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired, with 39 million of those individuals fully blind and the remaining individuals with low vision. Given the world population, this is a strikingly high number of affected individuals, which is why it is no surprise that extensive research has been conducted on finding a way to reverse blindness.
One of the most recent advancements was recently made by a team of Chinese Researchers at Fudan University and the University of Science and Technology of China.
These researchers are using artificial photoreceptors to help produce an electrical signal to be sent through the optic nerve and straight to the brain. Research is being conducted with genetically engineered mice, which have degraded photoreceptors. The researchers replace these degraded photoreceptors with artificial ones made from tiny nanowire what was “decorated” with gold nanoparticles. This material was chosen because of its high surface areas, large charge transport mobility, excellent biocompatibility and stability.
The results from these experiments have been promising so far, but the research team is still far from testing on humans, but if they remain on this trajectory, advancements should be made in no time at all.