3 New Advancements Made for Vision Disorders

By pendletoneye March 15, 2019

The vision industry is constantly progressing and creating innovative technologies to break barriers for individuals with visual impairments. Incredible achievements and discoveries are made often, and it reminds the low vision community to remain hopeful for a cure.

Below, we’ve summarized two interesting clinical trials and one new technique that succeeded in improving individuals’ vision.

  1. Restoring sight: Clinical progress towards Australia’s bionic eye

This compelling clinical trial, published November, 2018, in Australia, successfully restored “a sense of vision” in four blind people by surgically implanting a bionic eye. The trial focused on four people who have Retinitis Pigmentosa, a chronic, genetic eye condition that gradually degenerates the retina. There is currently no cure for Retinitis Pigmentosa, and it is the leading cause of inherited blindness.

Since their surgeries, all four patients have recovered and are in the process of adapting to their new eye. The bionic eye is a permanent device that can be incorporated into everyday life. The device is meant to help the patients with their mobility, along with other activities to help normalize their daily routines. Superior vision processing software in the bionic eye has helped these patients make tremendous strides towards independence, something many visually impaired individuals dream of having.

The bionic eye involves a surgical implant that connects to glasses with a small video camera attached. This incredible device opens many doors for individuals with Retina Pigmentosa, and offers hope for individuals with other vision disorders.

Our vision industry has hit the ground running with numerous notable advancements made in the last few months, and many more to come.

  1. New Technique Allows for Live Retinal Cell Imaging

With this new technique, a cure for genetic vision disorders seems more attainable than ever. One of the greatest obstacles researchers face is being unable to monitor living cells in the retina. Oftentimes, researchers use dead tissue samples, which only allows them to come to a rough conclusion of how living cells and tissue might interact. Ultimately, researchers are missing vital details in their studies.

The National Eye Institute has developed a new technique involving adaptive optics, which enables researchers to study “live neurons, blood vessels, and epithelial cells within the retina”, and offers them an opportunity to reach more accurate conclusions. For the first time, researchers are able to observe high-quality images of living units in the retina.

This scientific development creates a crucial milestone for individuals with genetic vision disorders. Since the retina is home to various eye diseases, researchers have a larger window to analyze what truly occurs in the retina and, as a result, confidently diagnose and monitor diseases.

  1. Pixium’s PRIMA Bionic Vision System Restores Central Vision in Dry AMD Clinical Trial

Pixium Vision, an international company created in December, 2011, has successfully put their Bionic Vision Restoration System (VRS) to the test. Published in January, 2019, the trial tested the device on 5 participants, all of which had nearly no central vision as a result of Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Age-related Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss for Americans age 50 and older. Until this promising trial, the condition was deemed irreversible.

After six months of communication between a small camera attached to a pair of glasses the patients wear and an implant located in the back of their eyes, patients were able to distinguish visuals such as, “patterns, numbers, or letters.” As they adapted to these new devices, they were able to identify and process the visuals faster.

While the trial will continue for the next few years, the progress these patients have already made keeps individuals with visual impairments hopeful, and Prixium Vision does not plan on stopping here. The ambitious company plans to test individuals with other vision disorders, such as Retinitis Pigmentosa, down the road.

We hope you are as excited as we are to see where the rest of 2019 takes us in developing more opportunities for visually impaired individuals to see clearer.