by c.bernier.tremblay on September 24, 2015 - 8:11pm
This article is focusing on an important medical issue, which is the loss of eyesight as a person grows in age, called age macular degeneration. In this news report, a solution to macular degeneration, abbreviated AMD, is presented, introducing a new technology: implanting electrodes on the surface of the retina. The first implantation has been performed, on Ray Flynn, a senior with degrading eyesight.
First, you may ask yourself how this technology works. One thing to know is that implanted electrodes only work on patients with a functional retina, which can transmit visual signals to the brain. In other words, individuals born with malfunctioning retinas cannot benefit from this technology as it only applies to special cases. In this technology, electrodes serve as “energizers” for the retina. With an external stimulation, they are capable of sending adequate signals to the brain. The question left to answer is: how is the information transmitted to the implant? Scientists being unable to replicate the functions of an actual retina, the implant must receive signals it is able to understand. To make it work, the patient must wear glasses equipped with a camera, which transforms light waves into electrical pulses. There is no direct contact between the implant and the camera so all the information is transmitted wirelessly, which simplifies the operation. When the pulses reach the implant, it is able to read the frequency of the signals, and cells transmit these impulses as signals to the brain.
Although these signals cannot be easily distinguished, only frames and imposing objects can be easily recognized. Another aspect to take into account is that the loss of eyesight can be separated in 2 categories: dry and wet AMD. Most of degenerative eyesight, approximately 85%, consists in dry AMD, where individuals conserve their peripheral vision. The implant would benefit individuals with this kind of macular degeneration, because they could use the device to complement the eyesight they already have. Today, this technology (treatment included) costs about 150,000 Euros.
In my opinion, this article is worth consulting because people who are not aware of existing technology cannot benefit from their advantages. An increasing number of individuals are suffering due to degenerative eyesight and this device could greatly enhance their living conditions as their age increases. Often, people are not well informed about technology and are fearful regarding the treatment. I think that this technology is a big step in modern medicine and that its use can greatly improve the living conditions of seniors nowadays.
Source of the article: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-33571412
External source: http://www.advancedbionics.com/ca/en/home.html