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Optogenetic approaches to retinal prosthesis

Lookup NU author(s): John Barrett, Dr Rolando Berlinguer PalminiORCiD, Professor Patrick Degenaar



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).


The concept of visual restoration via retinal prosthesis arguably started in 1992 with the discovery that some of theretinal cells were still intact in those with the retinitis pigmentosa disease. Two decades later, the fi rst commerciallyavailable devices have the capability to allow users to identify basic shapes. Such devices are still very far fromreturning vision beyond the legal blindness. Thus, there is considerable continued development of electrode materials,and structures and electronic control mechanisms to increase both resolution and contrast. In parallel, the fi eld ofoptogenetics—the genetic photosensitization of neural tissue holds particular promise for new approaches. Given thatthe eye is transparent, photosensitizing remaining neural layers of the eye and illuminating from the outside couldprove to be less invasive, cheaper, and more effective than present approaches. As we move toward human trials in thecoming years, this review explores the core technological and biological challenges related to the gene therapy and thehigh radiance optical stimulation requirement.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Barrett John, Berlinguer-Palmini Rolando, Degenaar Patrick

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Visual Neuroscience

Year: 2014

Volume: 31

Issue: 4-5

Pages: 345-354

Print publication date: 06/08/2014

Online publication date: 06/08/2014

Acceptance date: 07/05/2014

Date deposited: 07/07/2015

ISSN (print): 0952-5238

ISSN (electronic): 1469-8714

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0952523814000212


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Funder referenceFunder name
096975/Z/11/ZWellcome Trust