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Synthetic Retina Helps The Blind See

A synthetic, soft tissue retina developed by Oxford University researchers -the first ever made -could offer fresh hope to visually impaired people.

Until now, artificial retinas have only been made from hard, rigid materials.The new research is the first to successfully use biological, synthetic tissues developed in a laboratory environment.

The study could revolutionise the bionic implant industry and the development of new, less invasive technologies that more closely resemble human body A tissues, helping to treat degenerative eye conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa (a group of rare, genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and loss of cells in the retina).

Just as photography depends on camera pixels reacting to light, vision relies on the retina performing the same function.

The retina sits at the back of the human eye, and contains protein cells that convert light into electrical signals that travel through the nervous system, triggering a response from the brain, ultimately building a picture of ReutersS the scene being viewed.

The synthetic retina developed by the Oxford team consists of soft water droplets (hydrogels) and biological cell membrane proteins. It has so far only been tested in laboratory conditions.

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