Millions of people across the world endure blindness due to genetic or acquired conditions. Until recently, there was little hope for these patients; now, Haute MD Dr. Ella Faktorovich is optimistic that these patients could benefit from new developments.
One is Argus II retinal prosthesis. A microchip is embedded on top of the retina inside the eye. The patient then puts on a pair of special glasses. The microchip actually obtains a wireless signal from a tiny camera in the glasses. As soon as the implant senses the video image, it transmits the signal to the brain. Argus II is under FDA human clinical trials.
The second is Retinal Implant AG. This is also a microchip, which holds more than 1,000 light-sensitive photodiodes, amplifiers and electrodes. This implant is placed under the retina (opposite of Argus II). It stimulates retinal cells, and then the image signal is sent to the brain. Right now, studies are being conducted in Europe, with promise to move to US sites within the year.
Finally, there is an implant that is actually comprised of genetically-modified human retinal cells. This implant, created by Neurotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc, emits a growth factor that could result in the rescue of dying photoreceptors.
“Thanks to the visionaries in science and technology who persisted in their efforts, the future is now bright for even the most vulnerable among us,” said Dr. Faktorovich.