Programm                 "Degeneration und Regeneration– Grundlagen, Diagnostik und Therapie"

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Overview on Active Implants for the Eye

Walter P.
Center of Ophthalmology, University of Cologne

Purpose: Although a lot of progress had been made in conventional therapy and diagnostics some eye diseases still lead to an unacceptable risk of blindness. Among them are the hereditary retinal dystrophies, glaucoma, and destructions of the anterior segment after trauma or fatal inflammatory diseases. The application of new technologies and the integration of microelectronic sensors and actuators after biocompatible encapsulation as implants can help to improve the situation.
Method: By means of microsystem technology and the arrangement of very small microelectronic elements on flexible substrates active implants can be designed in a way that they are supplied with energy from outside the eye on one hand and that they work even after encapsulation in biocompatible materials. In-vitro and in-vivo research conducted by multidisciplinary expert teams give impressions in active implants for the eye in the future.
Results: Electric stimulators onto or underneath the retina may provide the patient suffering from severe retinal degenerations with visual perception by activation of remaining ganglion cells with epiretinal or subretinal implants. After destruction of the anterior segment and the failure of repeated keratoplasties an optical stimulation using intraocular displays will be feasible. Pressure sensors which transmit the real intraocular pressure in a continuous way from inside the eye to a receiver outside the eye will help to optimize treatment

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