The Emory Eye Center is recruiting patients in a study for the new retinal prosthesis system for those over 25 with severe retinitis pigmentosa and minimal or no light perception. The device provides electrical stimulation of the retina to induce visual perception in blind patients, bypassing damaged photoreceptors.
How it works
A miniature video camera housed in a patient’s glasses captures a scene. The video is sent to a small patient-worn, computerized video processing unit (VPU), where it is processed and transformed into instructions that are sent back to the glasses via a cable, then transmitted wirelessly to an antenna in an implant. The signals then pass to an electrode array which emits small pulses of electricity. These pulses bypass damaged photoreceptors and stimulate the retina’s remaining cells, which then transmit the visual information along the optic nerve to the brain. This process is intended to create the perception of patterns of light that patients can learn to interpret as visual patterns.
After acceptance for use of the prosthesis, patients will be studied for five years to collect information about the performance and safety of the system. Retina surgeon Jiong Yan is the study’s principal investigator at Emory.