I see the light!: A Prosthesis for Restoring Vision to Blind Patients

7pm, Monday 6th of April 2020

Waterstones Sachiehall Street

Speaker: Keith Mathieson

Many cases of blindness result from diseases that damage the ‘image capturing’ cells at the back of the eye that detect light. The nerves supplying these ‘image-processing’ retinal cells are not damaged however. Electronic retinal ‘prostheses’ seek to restore sight by stimulating the retinal nerves, with the stimulation pattern being controlled by an external video camera. This prosthesis could be quite un-invasive via special silicon ‘photodiodes’ (a device that converts light into an electrical current) that stimulate the neurons. This approach may be capable of restoring detailed vision to patients with these degenerative retinal diseases. The device is currently being commercialised, with patient trials on-going.

 Keith Mathieson is Director of the Institute of Photonics at the University of Strathclyde, and holds a Professorial Chair in Emerging Technologies from the Royal Academy of Engineering. He has been working on technologies to interface with the brain since 2001. He now leads the Neurophotonics research team at the Institute of Photonics, which develops optoelectronic neurotechnology to interface with the brain in an effort to understand how neural circuits process information.