Designing, Modeling and Fabricating Microelectrodes for Retinal Neuro-Stimulation for Vision Restoration in Patients with Retinal Degenerative Diseases
The Hybrid Retinal Implant (HRI) for sight restoration in patients with degenerated diseases, has the potential to overcome some of the limitations of current retinal prostheses. This concept relies on integrating glutamatergic neurons in a high-resolution 3D well-like electrode array device, which can be stimulated by both optical and electrical methods and may improve the stimulation spatial resolution and thus the obtained acuity of the prosthetic vision.
In this work we focused on three aspects: first, developing and optimizing the fabrication process of the device through photolithography methods; second, investigating the cells integration onto the device, while evaluating its integration with the host retina and demonstrating its ability to stimulate neurons; and lastly, devising an approach for locally enhancing the light power impinging onto the cell membrane using local plasmon resonance in order to reduce the required excitation power for neural activation based on optogentics.
Our results are the first step in the design and the realization of the Hybrid Retina concept, which may yield high-resolution spatial neural activation in both electrical and optical stimulation techniques.
* M.Sc. research supervised by Prof. Zeev Zalevsky and Dr. Yossi Mandel