Bionics the word ‘bionic’ is a combination of two words ‘biology’ and ‘electronic.’
A bionic eye is constructed from an array of stimulating electrodes.
Components of Bionic Eye:
Bionic eye system consists of a small digital camera, external processor and a implant with a microchip and stimulating electrodes surgically placed in the back of the eye
Prerequisite for Bionic eye implant:
“Patients need to have a functional visual pathway from the retina to the brain along the optic nerve, as well as some intact retinal cells”.
This takes advantage of the healthy parts of the visual system to maximise the benefits .
Camera fitted to a pair of glasses captured images is converted into signals which are transmitted wirelessly to the retinal implant. The chip’s electrodes stimulate the retinal cells, causing them to send the incoming information to the optic nerve which can be processed by the brain.
The retinal implant or bionic eye works by stimulating the perception of light in a patient. A phosphene is a perceived spot of light in the visual field.
Conditions in which the photoreceptors die but leave the other nerve cells in tact.
- Retinitis Pigmentosa and
- Age-related macular degeneration.
Other type of Bionic eye works in a different way, with an implant placed directly on the visual cortex of the brain. This type by passes the retina and optic nerve, helps for people with vision loss due to:
- Diabetic retinopathy
In the United States, the FDA has approved just one commercially available bionic eye system. The device, called the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, was developed by a California-based company called Second Sight.
Bionic eye helps people to discern light, movement and shapes, it does not yet restore sight to the extent people can clearly see images. However it can give mobility to the patient to perform their daily routines after training.