Losing your vision can have an enormous impact on your life, but new research may be able to replace a damaged retina to restore sight.
Losing your vision can be a huge hit to your quality of life. The retina is a layer of cells in the back of the eye that transforms light into electrical impulses that are sensed by the optic nerves. When the retina is damaged or diseased, we can lose our sight. Researchers have worked on creating artificial retinas using computer chips, but these are inflexible devices with limited resolution. Scientists in Australia have developed an artificial retina that is printed on a flexible sheet. Instead of silicon, it uses carbon-based semiconductors. The sheet has materials that prompt regeneration of the eye’s nerve cells, connecting to the receptors on the sheet. And best of all, the entire system is powered by light, so there is no need for wires or batteries or recharging. The device is produced using standard commercial equipment, so it has the potential to be a low-cost treatment for some types of vision loss.