Retinal Implants Give Artificial Vision to Blind People

Researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne have developed a retinal implant with electrodes for individuals who become blind due to photoreceptor cell loss. The implant has 10,500 electrodes and is paired with smart glasses that have a camera and microcomputer. This technology is designed to provide artificial vision by using electrodes to stimulate cells in the eyes. The camera captures what is around the wearer and this information is sent to the computer in the glasses. This computer converts the data into light signals that are sent to the electrodes in the implant. This stimulates the retina so that a simplified image is created by white and black dots of light. The wearer will learn to interpret these dots of light into images similar to how people find constellations in stars. So far, this has not been approved for human trial. Researchers are currently testing using a virtual reality program. 

What this means for Usher syndrome: If approved for testing and successful in humans, this could be a possible therapy for people with Usher to gain back some of their visual abilities.

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