Restoring Lost Sight
The Retina AG Implant
When we “see” something, photoreceptor cells in the eye’s retina are translating light into electrical nerve impulses, which are then sent through the optic nerve to the brain and become images that we perceive. However, in people born with genetic blindness or who lost their sight because of a disease, dead photoreceptor cells do not send these electrical impulses to the brain.
Now, a new microchip implanted next to the retina can essentially do the work of these photoreceptor cells. The chip—which is only three millimeters wide and 50 microns thick—contains thousands of photocells, which take in light and convert it into electrical energy. The chip uses this energy to stimulate the nerve cells in the retina, which sends the impulse to the brain to create an image.
While not restoring sight completely, the implant has helped previously blind people distinguish shapes and shadows, and some regained the ability to navigate rooms and read large lettering.