The future is looking bright for people with several forms of vision loss. A number of new treatments and technologies are helping to bring eyesight back into focus. Let’s take a look:
Second Sight’s Argus II: This is an artificial retina that has an array of electrodes on its surface. A miniature camera mounted on a pair of glasses takes images and converts them into electrical images that are transmitted to the electrodes on the retina, ultimately stimulating any cells remaining on the retina so the brain can translate these into images. This is currently moving forward in the UK. Sounds like science fiction, but in fact is very similar to cochlear implant technology to help with hearing impairment.
Bionic Vision Australia: In this version, the electronics are housed in a backpack attached to a wire from behind the patient’s ear; they’re working on a fully implantable version. But it works similarly to the Argus II, taking electrical impulses to stimulate the retina.
Israel’s VisionCare: Designed to treat end-stage age-related macular degeneration, this is an implantable miniature telescope the size of a pea. It reduces the blind spot by enlarging the images and projecting onto the unaffected areas of the retina; it’s currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Advanced Cell Technology: This group is working to resolve dry age-related macular degeneration by implanting retinal pigment epithelial cells; in trials, this improved one person’s vision enough to qualify to drive.
Google Contact Lenses: As cool as this technology is, Google is also working on a contact lens that helps diabetics to keep their glucose under control.
Lasik Xtra: In this next-generation version of Lasik, the cornea’s collagen fibers are strengthened with riboflavin drops, leading to a better long-term outcome.
Science-wise, there’s a lot going on to help people with vision issues. To read more about advances in eye technology, go here.