Blindness might not be something you see much more of. Scientists have restored lost vision in rats using a retinal implant. They say that they can start a human trial later this year.
That's huge news for the vision impaired.
Located at the back of the eye, the retina is what feeds information to the brain. No retina, no vision. Millions of people experience retinal degeneration that impacts the retina's ability to interpret signals.
The implant sends small bursts of light to stimulate the retina, filling in for any gaps.
Picture it like this. The eye takes in everything, but can only send an incomplete picture to the brain because of the damaged retina. The implant takes what is missing and puts it in. Now the brain has the full picture.
The procedure, which includes optical surgery and a lengthy wait time, was nearly 100% effective in the rats. There's no guarantee that will translate to the same kind of success in humans, but the scientists are optimistic.
"We plan to carry out the first human trials in the second half of this year and gather preliminary results during 2018. This [implant] could be a turning point in the treatment of extremely debilitating retinal diseases," said Grazia Pertile.