Retinal implant may help restore sight

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People who have lost some or all of their sight due to retinal degeneration may eventually see again thanks to new research in nanotechnology.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Newcastle University have developed a film that when implanted on the retina can replace damaged photoreceptors and re-sensitise the retina to light.

The experiment involved attaching the film to a newly born chick’s retina before it had become light sensitive. The adapted retina then produced a photogenerated current—a neuronal signal that can be interpreted by the brain. ‘The greatest significance of our work is in demonstrating how new materials
can yield a new system suitable for efficient stimulation of a neuronal system,’ co-author Yael Hanein, Professor at Tel Aviv University, told phys.org.

The researchers are working with a retina surgeon to develop an implantation and testing procedures with the aim of conducting human trials.

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