Gene therapy clinical trials are underway to treat one of the leading causes of blindness in the developed world.
The treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration (more advanced than dry macular degeneration) will hopefully be available to patients within three years, says the team at the Lions Eye Institute in Western Australia.
They’re using a modified virus to carry a gene into the cells at the back of the eye. The delivered gene encourages these cells to continuously secrete medication to treat the problem.
Electrodes made of diamond are helping Melbourne researchers build a better bionic eye.
Some types of blindness are caused by diseases where the light-sensing part of the retina is damaged, but the nerves that communicate with the brain are still healthy—for example, retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.
Dr David Garrett and his colleagues at the Melbourne Materials Institute at the University of Melbourne are using diamond to build electrodes that can replace the light-sensing function of the retina: they deliver an electrical signal to the eye via a light-sensing camera.
Melbourne scientists gave Australia the first practical bionic ear. Today, over 180,000 people hear with the help of the cochlear implant.
Now, The University of Melbourne is a key member in an Australian consortium developing an advanced bionic eye that will restore vision to people with severe vision loss. This device will enable unprecedented high resolution images to be seen by thousands of people with severely diminished sight, allowing them to read large print and recognise faces.