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Ophthalmologists Use Artificial Silicon Retina Microchip To Treat Vision Loss

Loss of photoreceptor cells occurs in persons with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and other retinal diseases.

The microsurgical procedure starts with three tiny incisions in the white part of the subject's eye, each incision no larger than the diameter of a needle. Through these incisions, the surgeons insert a miniature cutting and vacuuming device that removes the gel in the middle of the eye and replaces it with saline. They then make a pinpoint opening in the retina through which they inject fluid to lift up a portion of the retina from the back of the eye, creating a small pocket in the "subretinal space" just wide enough to accommodate the ASR.

The surgeons then enlarge the pocket opening and insert the implant into the subretinal space. Finally, they reseal the retina over the ASR, insert air into the middle of the eye to gently push the retina back down over the device, and close the incisions. Over a period of 1 week the air bubble is resorbed and replaced by fluids created within the eye.

According to Chow, "The use of the subretinal space to hold a device that artificially stimulates the retina seems a logical step in replacing the loss of photoreceptor cells of the retina. If the implant is tolerated well and is able to successfully stimulate the retina, it may open up new opportunities for restoring sight in patients with the end stages of retinitis pigmentosa."


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Source:Rush University Medical Center


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