Retinal Implant - Current Status and Future Developments

Current Status and Future Developments

Clinical reports to date have demonstrated mixed success, with all patients report at least some sensation of light from the electrodes, and a smaller proportion gaining more detailed visual function, such as identifying patterns of light and dark areas. The clinical reports indicate that, even with low resolution, retinal implants are potentially useful in providing crude vision to individuals who otherwise would not have any visual sensation. However, clinical testing in implanted subjects is somewhat limited and the majority of spatial resolution simulation experiments have been conducted in normal controls. It remains unclear whether the low level vision provided by current retinal implants is sufficient to balance the risks associated with the surgical procedure, especially for subjects with intact peripheral vision. Several other aspects of retinal implants need to be addressed in future research, including the long term stability of the implants and the possibility of retinal neuron plasticity in response to prolonged stimulation.

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