Kristi Sharma, B.Optom

M.Optom Student, The Sankara Nethralaya Academy, Chennai, India



The gift of vision is a blessing too invaluable to lose forever. Around the globe, among many diseases and conditions that make people seek immediate medical attention, retinal diseases remain the few of the most vision threatening ones. Many times, people permanently lose their vision due to development of incurable retinal conditions. Among all the doubts and queries of people around the globe, thankfully enough something is coming now to make a never before thing finally happen. It is the creation of Artificial Retina.

Scientists in the US have developed the artificial retina, an ultra-thin device made using 2D materials, with a hope of helping people to regain vision in certain retinal conditions. (1)

What is this Artificial Retina?

It is a silver lining of the cloud at the moment, a hope with which scientists from the US and South Korea have developed it. Graphene and Molybdenum has been used to make this ultra-thin device so that it can replicate the natural curve of the retina. (1-3) The device closely mimics the structure and features of a natural eye. Scientists involved in this development are hopeful that this might be an important step towards developing retinal prosthesis. (Figure 1)

It is believed that the device can be implanted elsewhere in the body too to monitor heart and brain activities.

FDA Approval for Retinal Prosthesis

In 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration granted market approval to an artificial retina that could help individuals with retinitis pigmentosa and have completely gone blind to locate objects, detect movement, improve orientation and mobility skills, and discern shapes such as large letters.(4)

Figure 1: Illustration of high-resolution electrode array placed on the retina
Image Courtesy:

Retinal Diseases

These are the types of diseases that affect the back surface of the eye or Retina where image formation takes place in the human eye. Some examples are-

  1. Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)
  2. Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
  3. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD/ARMD)

Due to this, people suffer from Vision loss, especially when they are left untreated. Some of these diseases cannot be treated. Some surgeries and intravitreal injections help in restoring vision in certain types of diseases or can help to slow down the progression of those diseases. However, there might be no improvement in some patients, or they might even complain of a few side effects.


Advances are made every day with a focus towards the betterment of life. If this work is successful in the trials, then it will prove to be of so much help for those suffering from retinal diseases and have lost most of their hopes of seeing ever again.



  1. Helathcare, R. (n.d.). Artificial Retina. Ramsay Health Care. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
  2. Muratore, D. G., & Chichilnisky, E. J. (2020). Artificial retina: a future cellular-resolution brain-machine interface. NANO-CHIPS 2030: On-Chip AI for an Efficient Data-Driven World, 443-465.
  3. Shah, N. P., Madugula, S., Chichilnisky, E. J., Singer, Y., & Shlens, J. (2017). Learning a neural response metric for retinal prosthesis. bioRxiv, 226530.
  4. Artificial Retina receives FDA approval. NSF. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2023, from