Friday, Jul 10, 2020 | Last Update : 07:06 PM IST

107th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra2305991272599667 Tamil Nadu122350741671700 Delhi104864781993213 Gujarat38419273131994 Uttar Pradesh3115620331845 Telangana2953617279324 Karnataka2887711878471 West Bengal2482316291827 Andhra Pradesh2381412154277 Rajasthan2221216877489 Haryana1936414505287 Madhya Pradesh1634112232634 Assam14033872724 Bihar139789792109 Odisha11201740767 Jammu and Kashmir92615567149 Punjab71404945183 Kerala6535370828 Chhatisgarh3526283514 Uttarakhand3305267246 Jharkhand3192217022 Goa203912078 Tripura177313241 Manipur14357930 Puducherry120061916 Himachal Pradesh110182510 Nagaland6733030 Chandigarh5234037 Arunachal Pradesh2871092 Mizoram2031430 Sikkim134710 Meghalaya113451
  Life   Health  22 Aug 2019  New optic nerve therapy to offer aid to blind

New optic nerve therapy to offer aid to blind

ANI
Published : Aug 22, 2019, 11:34 am IST
Updated : Aug 22, 2019, 11:34 am IST

Optic nerve stimulation to offer visual aid to blind: study.

A brain implant that stimulates the visual cortex directly is another strategy even though risky. (Photo: ANI)
 A brain implant that stimulates the visual cortex directly is another strategy even though risky. (Photo: ANI)

Washington: Scientists are developing a technology that would circumvent the eyeball in order to deliver the message directly to the brain in case of visually impaired people.

Researchers from EPFL in Switzerland and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Italy will be doing this by stimulating the optic nerve with intraneural electrode known as OpticSELINE.

The study was published in the journal 'Nature Biomedical Engineering'.

"We believe that intraneural stimulation can be a valuable solution for several neuroprosthetic devices for sensory and motor function restoration. The translational potentials of this approach are indeed extremely promising," explains Silvestro Micera, a professor of Bioelectronics at Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna.

Blindness affects an estimated 39 million people in the world. Many factors can induce blindness, like genetics, retinal detachment, trauma, stroke in the visual cortex, glaucoma, cataract, inflammation or infection. Some blindness is temporary and can be treated medically. But how do you help someone who is permanently blind?

The idea is to produce phosphenes, the sensation of seeing light in the form of white patterns, without seeing light directly. Retinal implants, a prosthetic device for helping the blind, suffer from exclusion criteria. For example, half a million people worldwide are blind due to Retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disorder, but only a few hundred patients qualify for retinal implants for clinical reasons.

A brain implant that stimulates the visual cortex directly is another strategy even though risky. The new intraneural solution minimizes exclusion criteria since the optic nerve and the pathway to the brain are often intact.

The teams engineered the OpticSELINE, an electrode array of 12 electrodes. In order to understand how effective these electrodes are at stimulating the various nerve fibres within the optic nerve, the scientists delivered electric current to the optic nerve via OpticSELINE and measured the brain's activity in the visual cortex. They showed that each stimulating electrode induces a specific and unique pattern of cortical activation, suggesting that intraneural stimulation of the optic nerve is selective and informative.

With current electrode technology, a human OpticSELINE could consist of up to 48-60 electrodes. This limited number of electrodes is not sufficient to restore sight entirely. But these limited visual signals could be engineered to provide a visual aid for daily living.

Tags: optic nerve, visual aid, blind