Histological section demonstrating three potential electrode placement positions for a bionic eye.
We selected the supra-choroidal space as the best balance between the safety and effectiveness for the wide-view device.
Developing new surgical techniques to implant the device and ensure it remained in a fixed place was an important aspect of the prototype wide-view bionic eye project (2010 – 2014).
Several surgical approaches were proposed for placement of an electrode array; for example epi-retinal electrode arrays placed directly on the inner surface of the retina and sub-retinal arrays placed between the retinal layers. Each of these approaches has potential advantages and disadvantages.
Implantation of electrode arrays on the surface of the choroid (the blood vessel network of the eye) showed promise since there is a natural cleavage plane between the sclera and choroid that can provide a pocket to hold the electrode array in a stable position behind the retina (supra-choroidal placement).
The supra-choroidal placement was found to be most beneficial for the prototype wide-view device and BVA researchers developed a new surgical approach for implanting the device.
The Bionics Institute worked on evaluating the safety and reproducibility of this supra-choroidal placement, and designed the surgical tools required.
Research Engineers – Nicholas Sinclair, Owen Burns
Research Assistants – Alexia Saunders, Rebecca Argent, Nicole Critch, Ceara McGowen
Technical Assistant – Vanessa Maxim
Surgical Collaborators – Dr Penny Allen, Dr Willie Campell, Dr Mark McCombe, Dr Chi Luu, Dr Jonathan Yeoh