Inside your eye are tiny retinal cells whose job is to translate the visual signals you encounter every day — colors and edges — into signals your brain can understand. Without these photoreceptors, you can’t see. And retinal degeneration, in which these receptors start to die off, is one of the leading causes of blindness.
But one group of scientists may be nearing a solution. In a paper published in the journal Nature Medicine this week, researchers describe a tiny, honeycomb-shaped wireless implant that helps restore vision in rats with retinal degeneration. These rats had lost some of their light-sensitive cells , but they still had intact bipolar and ganglion cells — the cells that photoreceptors hook up to. By using the wireless implant to directly stimulate these cells, researchers were able to restore partial vision to the rats.
In a nutshell, the way the procedure works is that when light hits the eye, the wireless device sends an electrical impulse to bipolar cells…
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