American researchers are hoping to develop a camera the size of a pea that could be implanted within the eyeball, replacing natural tissue with artificial technology.
The Argus II uses a video camera to capture images. These are converted into electrical signals, which are transmitted wirelessly to the implant behind the retina. The electrodes in the implant unscramble the signal to create a crude black-and-white picture that is relayed along the optic nerve to the brain. The brain can then perceive patterns of light and dark spots corresponding to the electrodes stimulated.
Lyndon da Cruz, the consultant retinal surgeon who carried out the operations with his team, said: “Moorfields is proud to have been one of only three sites in Europe chosen to be part of evolving this exciting technology. The devices were implanted successfully in both patients and they are recovering well from the operations.