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Intraocular Microdisplay Projection for Vision Restoration After Corneal Blindness
The cornea is the front clear window into the eye through which light must pass in order for the eye to see. Because of its location at the front of the eye it is the most exposed structure to military relevant trauma such as blast, chemical, and thermal injury. About 36 percent of eye injuries in Operation Iraqi and Enduring Freedom involved the cornea. Future beam weapons such as infrared and UV lasers, and microwaves will be primarily absorbed by the cornea when hitting the eye. When the cornea is injured and blood vessels grow onto the cornea, there is currently no effective treatment because corneal transplantation (replacing the cornea with a cornea from a deceased donor)does not work in this situation due to high risk of rejection. Plastic buttons placed into the cornea have been performed but these are exposed to the external environment and are at high risk of infection and other complications such as falling out. In addition to disease, there are thousands of patients who suffer corneal injuries in work related accidents. Due to the industrial nature of many ocular chemical and thermal burns, corneal injury disproportionately affects those in the prime of their life. Lastly, 12.7 million people around the world are unable to obtain corneas for transplantation due to a shortage of donors. Building on the most recent developments in state-of-the-art high resolution small display technology we have created a tiny projector (like a movie projector) that can be implanted into the eye (intraocular) of these patients. The device can wirelessly receive video data and power from a camera and processor positioned upon the frame of a pair of glasses. A lens focuses the image onto the retina. This in effect will place a miniature movie projector inside the eye, so that the patient will be able to see a projected image even with a completely scarred cornea or even if the eyes are closed.
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