For a long time, a blind person has been able to see partially through genetic modification and optics. This whole process is called optogenetics, in which the cells responsible for vision are genetically modified.
The French company Jean Site Biologics has published its preliminary results in the scientific journal Nature. It details the world’s first person to have undergone optogenetics treatment and a completely blind person to be able to identify cranes by looking at several instruments in a laboratory. “We are thrilled to present our first research on human optogenetics,” said Ed Bowden, a project participant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
However, optogenetics is gaining popularity in the laboratory because it alters brain cells in such a way that they emit signals in response to light. Research on animals has revealed many benefits and discoveries. But it can only be used on a limited scale on humans. This is because high-fiber optics technology and complex surgery are needed to deliver specific light to the brain.
Many eye diseases can be treated with optogenetics and one such disease is retinitis pigmentosa. It is an inherited condition in which the retina is affected and light-sensing cells begin to die. The gene site treatment now includes a gene found in algae in nerve cells under the light-sensing layer in the eye. It is characterized by the fact that when orange light is applied to it, the visual cells become active. For this, the patient was given a special type of spectacles which had cameras and processors in it and they were turning ordinary light into orange.
The technology has been tested on the 58-year-old Frenchman for the first time in the world. Now he can see the zebra crossing. Can distinguish between phone and furniture etc. and can count many items in the laboratory. But his vision is expected to improve over time.