The world’s advancing at a pace that’s never before. With modern solutions for problems that had seemed unsolvable for many years. We’ve entered a stage where the industrial space has grown exponentially. Businesses utilizing the latest technologies to gain a wider customer base. While also creating opportunities for growth overall.
These advancements have not only benefitted industrialists or those with a capitalist mindset. Also, impacted the healthcare sector. Over the past few years, we’ve seen remarkable improvements and the advent of new technology. It has changed the healthcare landscape.
One of those advancements has been the introduction of the ‘Bionic Eye Technology’. A wearable external system that acts as a visual prosthetic. To help restore the visual disabilities of an individual. Who might have completely or partially lost their vision.
Let us now highlight the bionic eye and its components. In an attempt to learn about the massive growth. The health industry is undertaking currently.
Bionic Eye Technology
The bionic eye technology consists of a camera that is attached to tiny eyeglasses. A transmitter that sends signals, and electrodes that receive those signals. These electrodes are implanted onto the retina of the individual. Which works in tandem with the external hardware present with the bionic eye. It captures images, processes them. Then creates/sends instructions.
The eye is a wearable external system. It captures and processes images but it needs the implanted circuitry to enable it to do so.
Many might confuse this with the ‘prosthetic eye‘. It is a ‘glass’ eye that is implanted to replace the physical structure of the eye. While the bionic eye works within the existing eye structure. This means that no such organ removals take place. And all the bionic eye does is restore visual function within the same physical makeup.
While this is one of the biggest breakthroughs when it comes to medical solutions. It still comes with its set of concerns and limitations.
The first limitation will answer the question you had at the very beginning. About the efficacy of the device i.e. does it ‘cure’ blindness completely?
The bionic eye does not impart 100% visibility to blind individuals. Since the number of electrodes is low. It only facilitates the reading of texts with large fonts.
Its impact also differs based on the cause of blindness. A patient suffering from blindness due to glaucoma can’t be helped through the bionic eye.
Another concern is the inability of the bionic eye to perceive colors. So any specifications on the ‘kind of vision’ one gets through the bionic eye. Implants are still being studied. To better understand what it looks like for the individual.
The last and probably the most important is the price factor. The device was created after immense research and testing. This means that it took a large amount of money to make it become a reality. This is why the bionic eye’s price is around $150,000. Making it highly expensive. Also, unaffordable for wide strata’s of society.
The research is required to further adapt the bionic eye. Also, making improvements is again something that needs more funding. Something which they haven’t been able to collect. The high-cost research associated with the development of this technology. Proved to be a major hurdle. In the growth of this technology.
However, these limitations do not take away from the invention itself. Also the potential it holds to change lives. Yes, the device is expensive currently and only partially cures blindness. But it is a major step in the right direction and has opened up a wide array of possibilities.
The Future Of Bionic Eye
Manufacturing companies across the globe are trying to swiftly advance in the field. Creating devices with a higher number of electrodes. To produce sharper images than the current ones. There have also been suggestions with regards to testing a new device mechanism. The one which can directly stimulate the brain. Without requiring the retina to do the relay for them. While other researchers have put up ideas. Targeting different areas of the visual pathways and creating a different track altogether.
The technology itself is in its infant stages at the moment. So it is understandable that we need to give researchers the time and space. To conduct thorough research and figure out ways of improving this further. The initial foundation has started. Now is the time to build forward from thereon.
The market for the bionic eye has already seen rapid growth. Due to increases in the cases of blindness or vision-related impairments. Both of which have made a strong case for the adoption of the bionic eye technology. These cases have shifted government efforts with discussions around allocating more funds. For R&D initiatives taking place on a regular basis. With the end goal being that this demand for bionic eyes can be fulfilled at a cost that isn’t sky-high.
Long Road Ahead
The way forward is clear on one end. In the sense that researchers and healthcare developers know what their goals are. Where they might want to see their technology some 20 years down the line. But on the other hand it’s unclear. Whether they will get the required funding to actually reach that predicted stage.
The recent support from the WHO. For the technology itself coupled with the growing interest from manufacturers. It can lead to an increase in funding. We can see mass advancements taking place in the world of bionic eye’s.