Israel Develops Bionic Retina

An Israeli company is restoring the sight of patients who have lost vision due to disease.

Malkah Fleisher, | updated: 22:13

Human eye
Human eye
Greyson Orlando

An Israeli company is featured in the Wall Street Journal for restoring the sight of patients who have lost vision due to disease.

Herzliya-based Nano Retina has developed a two-part system to replace the function of a retina which has been damaged by macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and other diseases. Called Bio-Retina, the device consists of an implant and set of glasses which coordinate to restore lost sight. The operation to install the electrode-laden implant takes a mere half hour under local anesthetic. 

The bionic implant does the work of the eye's photoreceptors, which normally turn light into electrical signals sent to the brain. The Bio-Retina transforms the light into the electrical signals, which then travel to the brain.

The Bio-Retina is activated by a tiny infrared laser inserted in the glasses, which can also serve as corrective lenses. For now, Bio-Retina works in gray-scale, but is expected to be developed for color vision. It is currently estimated at $60,000.

Nano Retina may begin tests on U.S. patients in 2013, thanks to a grant by U.S.-Israel industrial cooperation group Bi-National R&D Foundation, according to the Journal.


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