Restoring sight by technical means

Project: ResearchInterdisciplinary research, International collaboration

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Ophthalmology
  • Nano Technology
  • Neurosciences
  • Biomaterials Science

Keywords

  • Ophthalmology, Retina, Degeneration, Retinitis Pigmentosa, AMD, Glaucoma, Implant, Nanowires, Vision, Photoreceptor, Glia, Regeneration

Layman's description

Mutations in several genes essential for photoreceptor structure and/or function [as in Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)], in conjunction with the fact that photoreceptors are metabolically very active makes these cells highly susceptible to damage and death. In addition, risk factors in combination with the natural process of ageing can also led to visual loss, as is the case in Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Glaucoma.

For early-stage treatment of these degenerative retinal diseases, the rationale is to stop or delay the death of the retinal cells, which is challenging, with many patients ultimately progressing to severe visual impairment and eventually complete blindness. At advanced stages of a disease, one option is to restore visual function with the help of electronic devices.

Retinal implants available today already provide patients with some level of vision. However, these implants need to be improved. One of the steps recommended to obtain higher image resolution is the use of electrodes in the nanoscale, as opposed to microelectrodes, with growing understanding that this will be crucial. Another important aspect relates to the long-term functionality of retinal implants, which is still limited. In our work, we employ different types of vertical nanostructures to tackle some of these issues.
Short titleRETINANO
AcronymRETINANO
StatusActive
Effective start/end date2012/09/03 → …

Collaborative partners

  • Lund University (lead)
  • Technical University of Darmstadt
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Hamburg
  • French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)

Participants