About 10 million people around the world are suffering from blindness, where the path of light is disturbed due to an opaque, irreversible damaged, and inoperable cornea. Although vision is not given to this group of population, the retina is still intact. To date, there is no artificial implant which is able to replace the natural cornea. The work presented here describes an approach to build and implant a micro-optical and microelectronic system to be used as an intraocular vision aid. By overcoming the disturbed light path, it yields to an improved visual acuity of the patient. The main aspect of this bio-mimetic system is to transfer information representing the patient's field of view to the retina.
An image of the field of view is captured in real-time outside the eye. After employing data processing, it is wireless transferred to the implanted part of the vision aid. From there, the information emerging from a micro display is imaged to the retina via a micro-optical system. The limited display resolution available inside the eye and the limited dimensions of the eyeball build the constrains of the optical system. A combination of a spatial light modulator together with an imaging lens system realizes intelligent spatial information distribution schemes onto the retina. This ensures a high outcome of visual acuity in the central region of the retina. Various retinal acuities can be realized. The employment of in-vivo adjustment mechanisms of the focal plane is discussed.