MLERFi and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary have been committed partners for more than two decades in pursuit of the most ambitious technological innovations to date―developing a retinal prosthesis designed to restore useful vision to patients who are blind from age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. The primary goal of the prosthesis is to improve the quality-of-life of severely blind patients by allowing them to navigate in unfamiliar environments.
Once achieved, the device also has the potential to facilitate other activities of daily living, like reading street signs, addresses on buildings, bathroom designations (i.e. male vs. female), and much more. Funding from MLERFi has supported efforts to overcome the many biological and engineering challenges inherent in developing, building and testing this highly sophisticated technology. In July of 2014 the National Institutes of Health approved funding to conduct FDA-required pre-clinical testing of the prosthesis.