The Dawn of Retinal Prosthetic Devices
The war against human blindness has been ongoing affair since the beginning of time. Because the origin of blindness varies from case to case, there is no single remedy and limited solutions are available to the visually impaired. However, recent technological breakthroughs have allowed scientists and doctors to test out possible solutions to a particular niche in the blindness spectrum: degenerative retinal diseases. Degenerative retinal diseases such as Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) attack the retina exclusively. Because of that exclusivity, the other structures in the eye are typically not compromised. Therefore, the use of a retinal implant or prosthetic device to restore functional “vision” is possible. While it is important to note that retinal implants are still a pioneering technology, clinical trials such as the Argus II clinical trial, and eye health care professionals alike are reporting promising results. As such, it seems likely that retinal prosthetic devices will be a game-changer in the future treatment of degenerative retinal diseases since the devices can restore a form of vision to an otherwise blind patient.
Retina and Retinal Disease
The retina is a very delicate and thin layer in the back eye that helps with vision. It is light sensitive and “...acts like the film in a camera. Images come through the eye’s lens and are focused on the retina” (Retina: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, n.d). Like many parts of the