Age-related macular degeneration, a disease that slowly degrades light-sensitive cells in the retina, is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among people 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors can’t prevent such loss of sight – but a system that replaces light-sensitive cells designed by Daniel Palanker, a professor of ophthalmology, may ease the burden.

The device – a combination of image-processing goggles and tiny silicon chips implanted in the retina – has been more than a decade in the making. Although the device’s resolution is not yet where its designers hope to get it – currently the technology can only reach 20/200 vision, which is not enough to read clearly or drive safely – a five-patient feasibility study has begun in Paris, with a second planned later in the year in the Eastern United States.

“We published the first concept paper of how we would approach this 12 years ago, and now we’ve validated in human patients basically all the key assumptions we made on the way,” said Palanker, who is also the director of the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory and a member of Stanford Bio-X and the Stanford Neurosciences Institute.

Read more at Stanford News