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J Neural Eng. 2011 Dec;8(6):066006. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/8/6/066006. Epub 2011 Oct 26.

A continuum model of retinal electrical stimulation.

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Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.


A continuum mathematical model of retinal electrical stimulation is described. The model is represented by a passive vitreous domain, a thin layer of active retinal ganglion cell (RGC) tissue adjacent to deeper passive neural layers of the retina, the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) and choroid thus ending at the sclera. To validate the model, in vitro epiretinal responses to stimuli from 50 µm disk electrodes, arranged in a hexagonal mosaic, were recorded from rabbit retinas. 100 µs/phase anodic-first biphasic current pulses were delivered to the retinal surface in both the mathematical model and experiments. RGC responses were simulated and recorded using extracellular microelectrodes. The model's epiretinal thresholds compared favorably with the in vitro data. In addition, simulations showed that single-return bipolar electrodes recruited a larger area of the retina than twin-return or six-return electrodes arranged in a hexagonal layout in which a central stimulating electrode is surrounded by six, eqi-spaced returns. Simulations were also undertaken to investigate the patterns of RGC activation in an anatomically-accurate model of the retina, as well as RGC activation patterns for subretinal and suprachoroidal bipolar stimulation.

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