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Subspecialties Neuro-ophthalmology, Retina

The Sharper Image

Most patients with retinal degeneration lose sight because of a gradual loss of photoreceptors, with the rest of the retina remaining largely functional. This fact is what enables retinal prostheses to work – they provide electrical stimulation of the surviving neurons and enable information to enter the visual system once more. There are two ways of stimulating the surviving neurons with retinal prostheses: epiretinally, targeting the retinal ganglion cells (the approach taken with Second Sight’s Argus II), or subretinally, targeting the inner retinal neurons (as per Retina Implant’s Alpha IMS). However, irrespective of the approach, the fact remains that the implantation of these prostheses and their transscleral cables is a long and challenging surgical procedure, and even after a successful procedure, visual acuity remains below 20/1,000 in most cases (1,2).

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About the Author

Michael Schubert

While obtaining degrees in biology from the University of Alberta and biochemistry from Penn State College of Medicine, I worked as a freelance science and medical writer. I was able to hone my skills in research, presentation and scientific writing by assembling grants and journal articles, speaking at international conferences, and consulting on topics ranging from medical education to comic book science. As much as I’ve enjoyed designing new bacteria and plausible superheroes, though, I’m more pleased than ever to be at Texere, using my writing and editing skills to create great content for a professional audience.

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