Sydney: Offering hope to more than 160 million people worldwide who are considered clinically blind, a bionic eye implant will be ready for human trials in 2013, reveals a study.
A bionic eye is an extraordinary photocell developed by scientists, using space technology, that could replace a malfunctioning human eye.
"We have made significant progress since beginning last year and are confident that we will have a device to treat the majority of patients who are clinically blind," said Arthur Lowery, director of the Monash University`s Monash Vision Group (MVG).
The MVG approach has a number of advantages over other bionic eye technologies, in that it does not require a functioning eyeball or optic nerve or visual pathways from the eye to the brain, said a university statement.
"Our device will directly stimulate the brain`s vision centre using a miniaturised implant. The implant is fed with signals from a camera that have been processed to extract the most useful information, depending on what the user needs," said Lowery.
"The implant has many tiles, each with 45 electrodes, designed to give over 650 pixels in all," added Lowery, according to university statement.
Jeffrey Rosenfeld, professor and chief surgeon on the project from The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, believes that this approach will suit patients who have lost their sight through traumatic injury or tumours, and will also be suitable for many patients with diseases affecting the eye itself, such as glaucoma and retinal disorders.