This TEDMED 2011 video on efforts to develop a new type of retinal implant to treat blindness was released over the holiday break. If you missed it, as I did, take a moment to watch the fascinating talk by Cornell’s Sheila Nirenberg, PhD. As Nirenberg explains, she and colleagues have developed a prosthetic eye that circumvents damaged circuitry of the retina by hooking into the optic nerve and sending signals from a camera directly to the brain.
It should be noted that the approach has only been tested on animal models at this stage. Nonetheless, the work is exciting and holds the potential to benefit an estimated 10 million people in the United States, and many others worldwide, who are blind or losing their vision.