Wireless retinal implant and video goggles to help blind see again
There are many retinal implants available in the market, but none really effective. Most of them are bulky, while others have wires, which create an opening around the eye allowing bacteria to enter and infect the eye. As an effective solution, researchers are working on an implantable photovoltaic chip, which is completely wireless, much safer and quite capable of restoring vision in people suffering with retinal degeneration.
The honeycomb-shaped implantable chip has been licensed by the researchers to Pixium Vision – a French Company, to develop the device for human use. Using a pair of video goggles from Pixium Vision, the device can record images and beam the same to eye in infrared.
Self sufficient wireless retinal implant that works as a solar panel is only 100mm in size. The device can be implanted behind the retina to function as photoreceptor cells, and strong infrared light produced by the video goggles powers the device to transmit the images to the eye to restore partial vision. The IR goggles are used because the ambient light is not enough to power the implanted chip.
For now, the retinal implant, which has been tested on rats with retinal degeneration may not be able to help the blind see. But it can surely help patients with retinal degeneration (who have bipolar, ganglion cells and optic nerve functioning properly) see better. Pixium Vision ensures clinical trials for the implant could begin in 2016.