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Neurosci Lett. 2012 Jun 25;519(2):122-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2012.01.063. Epub 2012 Feb 3.

Artificial vision through neuronal stimulation.

Author information

1
Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Doheny Eye Institute, Los Angeles, CA, United States. rbrant@doheny.org

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

The term visual prosthesis refers to any device capable of eliciting visual percepts in an individual through electrical stimulation of any part of the visual system.

BACKGROUND:

Blindness can be due to eye pathology or due to damage of the lateral geniculate or visual cortex. Eye pathology other than diseases that affect the cornea and lens are numerous and some of the leading causes are diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, retinal detachment, glaucoma, and retinal vascular occlusions. The visual prosthesis can be divided into non-retinal and retinal approaches. Non-retinal approaches include cortical and optic nerve prosthesis. Retinal approaches are aimed at eye pathologies in which at least part of the optic nerve remains intact whereas when the optic nerve is nearly completely damaged and/or the eye itself is disfigured or degenerated then a non-retinal approach is warranted. The retinal prosthesis can be placed on the surface of the retina, in the subretinal space or in the suprachoroidal space.

RESULTS:

Several independent groups related variable degrees of success in promoting visual sensations through electrical stimulation of the visual system. Every technique, equipment and anatomical target has its advantages and disadvantages, and the biological/electrical-mechanical interface is still the aspect of the research towards a chronic, long term, reliable biomimetic implant.

CONCLUSIONS:

The visual prostheses have achieved significant developments in recent years. We see continued improvement in visual acuity with increasing number and density of electrodes. Even though the visual acuity is still poor relative to normal vision, these subjects can read letters using their implants. Perhaps more importantly, blind patients can use these devices for mobility and orientation.

PMID:
22342306
DOI:
10.1016/j.neulet.2012.01.063
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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