An electronic sparkle in the eye
The American Food and Drug Administration has just approved the use of an electronic retina to treat blindness. The eye prosthesis doesn’t allow people to see in the conventional sense; images are defined by their outlines or boundaries and work best in high contrast settings. Things like fireworks against a night sky or a black sock mixed with white are easiest to ‘see.’ This technology (only recommended for people over the age of 25) makes it possible for people to distinguish moving cars, cross walks, and even large numbers or letters.
The artificial retina is a sheet of electrodes implanted in the eye. The patient is given glasses with an attached camera and a portable video processor. This system, called Argus II, allows visual signals to bypass the damaged portion of the retina and be transmitted directly to the brain.
Normally, people with no eye problems see light rays that are altered into electrical impulses. These signals are sent through nerves and turn into images in the brain. Argus II helps people with retinal pigmentosa (eyes that are unusually sensitive to light) regain a portion of their vision.
It’s a huge leap forward. Perhaps complete vision restoration is in our near future!
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