Bionic eye – Artificial vision, light for the blind.

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bionic eye

Eyes are the precious gift of God, that allow us to look the world in many colours. Eyes absorb reflecting light from objects and then we adore the beauty of nature. But not every individual are born with same properties of an eye. Artificial eyes or bionic eyes are creating a new way for people with vision disability.

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circuit digest

A person with disability of vision are blind. They cannot see the things, even though they have a pair of eye. Blindness means the loss of vision. Human eye is a wide area of interest for scientists. The studies proved that a person without rod and cone cells in eye, are blind. There eyes are unable to carry light sensation and hence no image will be formed on retina. Bionic eye Or visual prostheses is a way to cure blindness at some extent.

Let us understand, What are bionic eyes? How bionic eyes work? What diseases can be cured by bionic eyes? How bionic eyes are different from human eyes?

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Source- Bionic eye Slideshare

What is bionic eye?

A bionic eye Or Bio-Electronic eye is an artificial eye for pursuing vision. It is electronic device that is composed of retinal chip, image sensor, processors, radio transmitter and receivers. Artificial eyes are surgically implanted to human eye for receiving light signals. It replaces functionality of a whole or a part of eye. It is useful for person who is blind Or partially blind due to diseases like Retinitis pigmentosa and Macular degeneration. This device restores the visual signals for light and convert it into an image using a CCD camera in glass and micro chip inside the eye.

Outer glassesDigital camera
Inner glassesEye movement sensor direct the camera
Side of glassDigital processor or transmitter
Brain implantsensor in visual cortex of brain
components of bionic eye
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Source- new scientist

What disease can be cured by bionic eyes?

Two main genetic disease that leads to blindness are:- Retinitis pigmentosa RP and age-related macular degeneration AMD. In both the cases person start to loose photoreceptor cells in eye. There is no possible treatment for these two diseases. But bionic eyes have proved to be an effective way of vision for the diseased person. In Retinitis pigmentosa, the retina of eye are damaged and in macular degeneration, the vision is impaired at the centre point and blurry. Bionic eyes are implanted in the patient’s eye for a normal vision.

How image is processed in a human eye?

Human eye is placed in sockets. It is composed of three layers sclera (outermost white layer), choroid and retina. Retina is innermost layer that forms the image. Cornea is the part that receive the light that is reflected by an object to lens and it pass the light to retina where image us formed. Optic nerve sends the signal of image to brain and brain recognises the image Or object that we see.

Retina have photoreceptor cells that gain light. These photoreceptor cells are rod and cone cells. Rod cell are for night and dark vision whereas cone cells are for colour vision in light.

Source- Human eye anatomy

How bionic eyes work?

Bionic eye comprises, internal microchip, transmitter and external camera. Microchip is implanted into retina and camera is mounted on the eye glasses.

Microchip work as electronic relay in place of degenerated retinal cells that convert the signal to transmitter. Image captured by camera are focused to chip to convert it into electronic signal that brain can optimise. Image produce by bionic eyes are not much perfect but it can mark a clear sense of particular object.

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Source- Good morning science

This electronic device consists of 3500 micro photodiodes. This chip is placed at the back of retina layer in eye. As this micro cells receives light they convert it into electrical signal. These signals are travelled through optic nerve to the brain.

The working is similar to normal human eye, but here only different thing is, camera on the glasses that a patient wear. Camera is very tiny that is in frame of glass. Micro processor convert the image information into electrical signals and then back to receiver. It sends signal to electrode panel connected to back of retina layer. Electrode panel generate impulse that is carried by optic nerves to the brain. Then brain reads the signal. This process is fast similar to our eye.

How objects are seen trough bionic eyes?

Bionic eyes provide vision upto a limit. Bionic eye vision is not same as Natural human eye vision. Bionic eye provide a normal vision but not perfect. According to Researches, few blind person can read words written in large format and objects are visible to them, colour are distinguished. A Few blind person are observed to read small letters and also to recognise the objects clearly. More researches and technologies are on work to find a more betterment in bionic eye vision.

First model of Bionic eye

The first model of bionic eye vision are proposed by Australia company- Bionic Vision Australia. First implantation of rudimentary bionic eye was reported in 2012. The patient was suffering from Retinitis pigmentosa and after this transplant the person was able to have vision but do not interpret the environment. Further more advancements were made in the bionic eye transplant procedure and to enhance more clear vision.

Argus II bionic eye is first to be implanted in a patient. Is has camera on the glasses which is wirelessly connected to the receiver and microchip in patient’s retina.

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Source- Frontiers

Drawbacks

  • A pair of bionic eye costs about 25-30 lakhs approximately, which a normal man can not afford easily.
  • Bionic eye treatment are only for few specific eye blindness conditions. It can not cure diseases like glaucoma, cataract etc.
  • This new technique may have some side effects or more serious problems that a patient can suffer later on.
  • It is a supplement eye for vision, our natural eyes provide clear vision but bionic eyes provide less clear vision than human eye.

Bionic eye is an artificial eye, more advancement in the technology can prove to enhance more clear vision for blind people. Hopefully in near future, this can bring a great change in vision like facial expressions, reading words clearly and recognition of the environment and objects.

This is to significantly improve the quality of life with vision for a blind person.

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