Bionic Eye Technology: Reducing Vision Loss

Bionic Eye Technology

About 246 million people in the world have visual impairment, according to the World Health Organization. Of this number, 39 million have completely lost their sight. The fact that the numbers are so large pushes researchers to develop new ways to restore sight. Bionic eye technology also stands out as a result of this effort.
Scientists working on the bionic eye have a common goal. It is also that this technology is as useful and widespread as cochlear implants. But compared to cochlear implants developed for hearing loss, bionic eye technology is still in its infancy. However, technological advances in the field of bionic eyes create great hope for those who suffer from partial or complete vision loss.

What Is Bionic Eye Technology?

Bionic Eye Technology

Normally, when a beam reflected from an object reaches our eyes, some signals go to the brain. The brain then decodes the signal to optimize the appearance and movements of the object we see. This whole process only happens through light. I mean, the lack of light means we can’t see anything. One of the most important players of the eye in this process is the retina. The Retina is an intraocular wall that transmits them to the brain via the optic nerves to capture light signals and create the sense of vision.
The World Health Organization estimates that about 9% of the world’s Blind are blind due to genetic disorders and degenerative diseases in the retina. Retinis pigmentosa is also one of these degenerative diseases.
Retinis pigmentosa (RP) consists primarily of the loss of photoreceptor cells responsible for converting light into electrochemical signals. This loss can occur partially or completely.
At the moment, unfortunately, there is no treatment available to completely reverse this condition. But bionic eye technology has made significant progress in addressing RP by stimulating remaining healthy photoreceptor cells. With proper training, the patient can see easily identifiable objects and capital letters. It can also recognize faces in shades of black and white.
In short, the basic concept behind bionic eyes is the stimulation of remaining healthy photoreceptor cells. This, in turn, produces visual impulses, allowing the patient to see light patterns. In this way, the patient develops awareness of external objects and the environment.
Bionic eye and prosthetic eye should not be confused with each other. Prosthetic eyes replace the physical structure and appearance of an eye that needs to be removed due to trauma, pain, disfigurement, or other disease. Bionic eyes, on the other hand, settle inside existing eye structures and perform the function of the eye. Bionic eye technology is being developed to achieve the goals of functional vision, as opposed to the prosthetic eye.

Argus II

Bionic Eye Technology

At the moment, unfortunately, there is no treatment available to completely reverse this condition. But bionic eye technology has made significant progress in addressing RP by stimulating remaining healthy photoreceptor cells. With proper training, the patient can see easily identifiable objects and capital letters. It can also recognize faces in shades of black and white.
In short, the basic concept behind bionic eyes is the stimulation of remaining healthy photoreceptor cells. This, in turn, produces visual impulses, allowing the patient to see light patterns. In this way, the patient develops awareness of external objects and the environment.
Bionic eye and prosthetic eye should not be confused with each other. Prosthetic eyes replace the physical structure and appearance of an eye that needs to be removed due to trauma, pain, disfigurement, or other disease. Bionic eyes, on the other hand, settle inside existing eye structures and perform the function of the eye. Bionic eye technology is being developed to achieve the goals of functional vision, as opposed to the prosthetic eye.
Currently, there is only one FDA-approved Bionic Eye system on the market in the United States. The device, manufactured by a company called Second Sight Medical Products, is called The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System.
The company designed Argus II to provide some visual perception to people suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, which we also mentioned above. The medical device, which is surgically implanted in the eye and provides electrical stimulation to the retina, is now being used by hundreds of people.
The Argus II captures images thanks to a miniature video camera mounted on glasses. It then works by transmitting the captured images to a series of electrodes implanted on the surface of the retina. Small pulses of energy transmitted to the electrode stimulate the cells remaining in the retina of people with retinitis pigmentosa. This, in turn, allows you to detect light patterns in the brain. However, we need to note that the bionic eye provides a different vision than the vision that a person has. Although this technology does not restore full vision, with the help of vision rehabilitation specialists, the user can regain some amount of visual function by learning to interpret these visual patterns.
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