The retina is the innermost layer of the eyeball and has the function of converting photons of light it receives into nerve impulses and sending them to the brain through the optic nerve to compose the images we see.
Some of the diseases of the retina cause the degeneration of photoreceptors, light-sensitive particles that stimulate neurons to function, their malfunction can even cause blindness.
A group of scientists from the Italian Institute of Technology have developed the first liquid retina prosthesis that will alleviate the dysfunction of the aforementioned photoreceptors.
The prosthesis consists of an aqueous medium in which nanoparticles of a photo-active polymer are suspended, that is, they react to the light they receive, stimulating the neurons to do their job.
The results observed in the experiments show that these photoreceptors really work as expected by stimulating the neurons that are not damaged, working in the same way as the photoreceptors.
The fact of being a liquid prosthesis implies much less aggressive surgery since the procedure consists of using micro-injections with these nanoparticles, directly under the retina where they are trapped.
When we talk about nanoparticles we are referring to particles with a size of a few hundred nanometers, that is, a few hundred millionths of a millimeter.
As you can see, nanotechnology will be one of the disciplines that will surprise us the most in the coming years, not only in medicine but in many other fields.
Versión en español