Optogenetics is a high-tech treatment that genetically alters nerve cells to respond to light and has successfully restored limited vision to a patient.
Optogenetics is complicated; researchers have found a gene in algae, which can be injected into the nerve cells in the eye. However, the gene only responds to amber light. To get some vision back, the patient still needs to wear goggles that change ordinary light into amber light. The brain also needs time to be able to learn how to process the new information. GenSight Biologics has published research stating that the patient can recognise objects such as furniture, phones and a door in a corridor. It has taken several years of treatment for the patient to get some level of vision back. Although the patient can’t read or recognise faces, even minor improvements can be life-changing for someone who is blind. Another firm Bionic Sight reported that using a different gene, four people who had been blind or nearly blind could now perceive the light and objects in motion..
- May 2021 The Guardian Blind man has sight partly restored after pioneering treatment
- May 2021 BioSpace GenSight Biologics Announces Publication of Results from the REALITY LHON Natural History Study in the Journal Eye
- May 2021 Science Magazine Blind man regains some vision, with help from light-sensing algal protein
- May 2021 ScienceDirect Optogeneticsd