An international team of scientists has demonstrated a potential way to restore vision in patients with retinal degenerative diseases,media reported. The scientists are known to create a functioning artificial retina using a dose of nanoparticles that restores vision to blind rodents. Because age-related degenerative vision loss is so common, many people think it’s just an inevitable consequence of age.
However, many innovative research projects have found preventive or at least ways to slow down this seemingly inevitable process.
Because many age-related vision loss is associated with retinal degeneration, many researchers have turned their attention to artificial retinal development, using electrodes and sensors to replicate retinal function. However, these repairs are not ideal because the retina requires wiring, cameras, and invasive surgery.
Another more ideal way to repair retinal function, however, is to use specially crafted nanoparticles as photosensitive catheters for retinal neurons. In the new study, researchers demonstrated how conjugated polymer nanoparticles (P3HT-NP) spread widely in sub-retinal space and restore lost vision.
To test the effectiveness and safety of these nanoparticles, the researchers looked at rodent models with pigmented retinitis. Pigmented retinitis is a genetic disease that causes gradual blindness. After injecting nanoparticles in the lower retina once, the researchers saw the activity of the visual cortex and restored vision to levels similar to those in animals with normal vision.
Mattia Bramini, a researcher on the project, points out that the way nanoparticles are dispersed on the retina suggests that the technology can restore a broad field of view. This spatial resolution should be much higher than any implant available today. In addition, this simple and relatively non-invasive surgical method is more widely used than other artificial retinatechnologs.
It’s not clear how far the technology is from human trials, but the future is clear from these animal experiments. At this stage, these nanoparticles have been shown to help rodents safely and effectively restore vision for at least eight months.
“This simplest surgical procedure on retinal prosthesis implantation and extensive retinal coverage has the potential to restore the entire field of view and open a whole new path for the clinical application of P3HT polymer nanoparticles in degenerative blindness cases,” Bramini said. “