Scientists are no longer focused on discovering methods to restore people’s sight, with the help of technology. This is the case of a group from Stanford (USA), which developed special glasses capable of restoring part of the visual capacity of patients with macular degeneration, an eye disease that affects the central area of the retina. New findings were published on the 26th, in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
In creating the glasses in 2020, scientists concluded that they could restore limited vision in the center of the visual field. In the recent study, the group found that this prosthetic vision was naturally integrated into the patients’ peripheral vision, which was unaffected by the disease. The results suggest that the treatment can be used to restore functional vision.
In practice, macular degeneration causes patients to gradually lose vision in the center of the visual field, and the remaining peripheral vision has low resolution, so patients diagnosed with the disease have difficulty even recognizing faces.
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The experts explain in the article that the disease affects the photoreceptor cells, which line the back of the eye, detect light and send signals to neurons in the retina, responsible for sending the message to the brain. When photoreceptor cells are damaged, the brain no longer receives the information it needs to create the image.
Special glasses that restore vision
The glasses have a chip that sends electrical signals through the neural network from the retina to the brain, restoring perception of the visual field. The object also has a video camera that transmits the images to the chip, all with the aim of making up for the absence of these photoreceptor cells.
Here’s an illustration of how it works:
Currently, the prosthesis is limited and allows patients to identify large letters. The researchers recognize that, to make it a really useful and practical device, there is still a need to improve the resolution, so they are working on the development of a new chip, which can provide a more improved view.
Stanford University reveals that future studies will also test implants in more natural environments, with more patients and for longer periods of time.