Researchers at EPFL have come up with a brand new retinal implant for those who have lost their sight on account of losing of photoreceptor cells in their retinas. The implant can restore the visual field to an extent and can thus better the life quality. Of the 32 million blind people worldwide, around two to three million cases are due to the loss of light-sensitive cells around the retinas.
So far, the most effective treatment for this condition is a retinal implant in which the embedded electrodes stimulate the retinal cells electronically. However, their results are not up to the mark and those who wear it are still categorized as legally blind. As per Diego Ghezzi of EPFL’s School of Engineering, the implantee is required to get back a minimum of 40 degrees of visual field to be able to lead a normal life. At present, the implant accomplishes only 20 degrees.
New Design Widens Visual Field
The latest wireless implant by LNE researchers made with extremely flexible and pliable material that contain photovoltaic pixels is expected to overcome the existing challenges to offer the wearers a visual field of over 46 degree having improved resolution. All these were published in Nature Communications recently.
The recent implant designed by EPFL steals a march on the existing implants by not having any wires. Further, it has a greater surface area to widen the visual field and thus enhance the quality of the image. The larger size also facilitates stimulation of more number of retinal cells by photovoltaic pixels.