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13 July 2004 Attracting retinal cells to electrodes for high-resolution stimulation
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Development of the electronic retinal prosthesis for restoration of sight in patients suffering from the degenerative retinal diseases faces many technological challenges. To achieve significant improvement in the low vision patients the visual acuity of 20/80 would be desirable, which corresponds to the pixel size of 20μm in the retinal implant. Stimulating current strongly (quadratically) depends on distance between electrode and cell. To achieve uniformity in stimulation thresholds, to avoid erosion of the electrodes and overheating of tissue, and to reduce the cross-talk between the neighboring pixels the neural cells should not be separated from electrodes by more than a few micrometers. Achieving such a close proximity along the whole surface of an implant is one of the major obstacles for the high resolution retinal implant. To ensure proximity of cells and electrodes we have developed a technique that prompts migration of retinal cells towards stimulating sites. The device consists of a multilayered membrane with an array of perforations of several (5-15) micrometers in diameter in which addressable electrodes can be embedded. In experiments in-vitro using explants of the whole retina of P7 rats, and in-vivo using adult rabbits and RCS rats the retinal tissue grew into the pores when membranes were positioned on the sub-retinal side. Histology has demonstrated that migrating cells preserve synaptic connections with cells outside the pores, thus allowing for signal transduction into the retina above the implant. Intimate proximity of cells to electrodes achieved with this technique allows for reduction of the stimulation current to 2μA at the 10μm electrode. A 3mm disk array with 18,000 pixels can stimulate cells with 0.5 ms pulses at 50Hz while maintaining temperature rise at the implant surface below 0.3°C. Such an implant can, in principle, provide spatial resolution geometrically corresponding to the visual acuity of 20/80 in a visual field of 10°.
© (2004) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Daniel V. Palanker, Philip Huie, Alexander B. Vankov, Yev Freyvert, Harvey Fishman, Michael F. Marmor, and Mark S. Blumenkranz "Attracting retinal cells to electrodes for high-resolution stimulation", Proc. SPIE 5314, Ophthalmic Technologies XIV, (13 July 2004);

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