Intraocular Projector for Patients with Corneal Blindness Unsuitable for Corneal Transplantation

Ofer Ziv 1 Yoav Nahum 3 Yoni Hadad 2 Tomer Exterman 2
1Afeka - Tel Aviv Academic College of Engineering, Israel
2Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
3Rabin Medical Center, Israel

Background: Corneal opacification is a primary cause of treatable blindness. Annually, approximately 100,000 corneal transplantations are performed worldwide, though it is estimated that the number of patients is orders of magnitude greater. While the majority of transplant patients attain good visual outcomes after keratoplasty the results are often disappointing in high-risk patients. There have been attempts to develop a substitute for human cornea tissue. Two common treatments are the Boston Keratoprosthesis, and Osteo-Odonto-Keratoprosthesis, which is a rare and very demanding multistage surgery in which a tooth with its surrounding bone is extracted, a transparent polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) cylinder is drilled into it, and the complex is put in lieu of the cornea.

Methods: This project implements the fundamental concept of an intraocular projector, powered wirelessly that receive and capture the video stream coming from an external device. This projection will light the retina, thereby bypassing the cornea. The image is created on the retina using optical methods that do not need adjustments per patient.

Results: A proof of concept device was made and used to create a projected image on a simulated retina (screen at the proper distance from the projector). The image is slightly blurred due to optical limitations, but clearly sufficient for everyday life.

Conclusion: It is possible to make a small, wirelessly powered implantable device that will reside in the space provided by the iris and lens inside the eye. The technology is available and only some changes in the physical structure of available devices is required.

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