Researchers develop, flexible film substitute for damaged retina

14 November 2014

A team of researchers had developed a novel wireless, light-sensitive and flexible film that could potentially work as a substitute for damaged retina.

The film was tested by the researchers from Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Centres for Nanoscience & Nanotechnology and UK's Newcastle University, with a chick retina that normally gives no response to light.

They found that the film absorbed light and sparked neuronal activity in response. In comparison with other technologies, the researchers concluded that theirs was more durable, flexible and efficient, as also better able to stimulate neurons.

According to the researchers, patients with one type of eye disorder called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), could potentially benefit from such a device.

AMD usually affects people aged 60 or older who had damage to a specific part of the retina, which limited their vision. Scientists have been trying different approaches to develop an implant capable of "seeing" light and sending visual signals to a person's brain, countering the effects of AMD and related vision disorders.

Many attempts had however, used metallic parts, cumbersome wiring or have low resolution.

The film comprised semiconductor nanorods and carbon nanotubes to create a light-sensitive flexible film that could potentially function like a retina.

The research was published in the ACS journal Nano Letters.

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