These surgeons are carrying out the painstaking process of inserting a retinal implant – a tiny electronic sensor that’s a bionic vision system for the blind. These devices work by capturing light information and converting it into electrical signals which travel down the optic nerve to the brain, where they’re interpreted as images. It sounds like a sci-fi solution for sight loss, but there are several limitations. Because retinal implants rely on the nerves from the eye still being intact, they aren’t suitable for all types of blindness. The resolution is also very low – several hundreds of pixels compared to the many thousands that would be needed to recognise a face. Today’s implants are still a long way from fully restoring sight, although they enable people to perceive shapes and shadows. But as technology improves and more pixels are added, there’s hope that a clearer picture will emerge from the darkness.
Written by Kat Arney
Image by Jonathan Brett
This image is a finalist in the International Images for Science 2017 exhibition, organised by the Royal Photographic Society and supported by Siemens as part of the Curiosity Project
Image copyright held by the photographer
You can also follow BPoD on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook
#science #biomedicine #ophthalmology #retina #retinal #eyes #eyesurgery #bionics #surgery