Original Article: https://then24.com/2021/10/27/implanted-in-italy-revolutionary-artificial-retina-that-gives-a-bionic-sight-to-blind-patients/
For the first time in Italy, NR600 has been implanted, a revolutionary latest generation artificial retina produced in Israel that gives bionic vision to completely blind patients. The implant was performed at the Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome on a seventy-year-old patient suffering from a severe form of retinitis pigmentosa.
Here’s how the device works and how the man will see.
Al Gemelli Polyclinic in Rome one was implanted artificial retina from latest generation to a seventy-year-old patient blind, due to an advanced form of retinitis pigmentosa.
This is the sixth plant in the world and the first in Italy of this revolutionary device, developed by the company’s Israeli engineers. Nano Retina of Herzliya, is not far from Tel Aviv, where numerous start-ups in the high-tech sector are based (a bit like California’s Silicon Valley). The artificial retina – called NR600 – was implanted after an operation that lasted about two hours.
The patient has already begun to see the light, an extraordinary result for those who have been in the dark for years; it will take months of brain testing, practice and adaptation, but eventually, he will learn to manage his new vista bionic.
The artificial retina does not return natural sight, however, it allows to distinguish shapes and objects, greatly improving the life quality when it becomes completely blind due to retinitis pigmentosa.
The implant was carried out by the team led by Professor Stanislao Rizzo, director at the Ophthalmology Unit of the Agostino Gemelli IRCCS University Hospital Foundation and professor of the Ophthalmology Clinic at the Catholic University campus in Rome.
The scientist is a pioneer of these interventions, having been the first to have implanted the artificial retina in Italy “Argus“In 2011 in a blind patient. In ten years, technological progress has been significant; unlike the old model, which just had 60 electrodes, the NR600 does not contain 400, significantly improving the final result.
As explained in a press release from Policlinico Gemelli, the new artificial retina is as big as the tip of a pencil, with a diameter of 5 millimetres and a thickness of 1 millimetre; should be placed by an eye surgery expert directly on the retina, making sure that the electrodes penetrate the cells and replace the fotorecettori destroyed by the disease.
Thanks to specific stimuli, the electrodes activate the ganglionari cell, responsible for the transmission of brain visual information. The process is accomplished by wearing special glasses which send an infrared pulse to the NR600 by powering it.