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Holographic treatment for sight problems

By Tim Sandle     Mar 3, 2013 in Science
New technology has been developed which may be able to help people, suffering from degenerative eye diseases, to see. The technology harnesses holographic imaging.
The technology is aimed at people with vision problems. It is a device that converts images into a holograph, allowing the person to see by stimulating damaged retinal ganglion cells to transmit a picture of the scene.
The research has been undertaken on mice with outer retinal degeneration. For the technique, scientists used a method called optogenetics (a combination of techniques from optics and genetics to control the activity of individual neurons in living tissue). This method involves inserting light-sensitive algal or bacterial proteins into the eyes in order to sensitize the damaged cells to light.
Using holography to stimulate the retinal cells the method provides a high-resolution image by directing very intense beams to specific cells rapidly and sometimes simultaneously. Shy Shoham, one of the researchers based at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, is quoted in a press release as saying: "Holography, what we’re using, has the advantage of being relatively precise and intense. And you need those two things to see.”
The research has been published in the journal Nature Communications. The researchers hope that trials on people can be undertaken, focusing on degenerative diseases of the retina, such as retinitis pigmentosa (an inherited, degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment and often blindness).
The next steps are to trial the technology on people.
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