Reading Visual Braille with a Retinal Prosthesis - Frontiers

Laser treatment of the retina
A laser is a pure, high-intensity beam of light energy. The laser light can be precisely focused onto the retina, selectively treating the desired area while leaving the surrounding tissues untouched. The absorbed energy creates a microscopic spot to destroy lesions or weld tissues together.

Laser surgery is usually painless; at the most it may cause temporary discomfort. It is usually performed in the operating room while the patient is awake and comfortable. In rare cases, anesthesia is given those patients who cannot tolerate the discomfort or to children to keep them still during treatment. The entire procedure lasts 10 to 30 minutes.

Who requires laser treatment?
Lasers are commonly used to treat the following eye conditions:

Diabetic Retinopathy
The retinal blood vessels are like pipes, bringing blood into and taking it out of the back of the eye. In diabetes, however, the vessels may leak, causing the retina to swell and not work properly. When the swelling involves the central area of retina vision may be affected. (This is known as diabetic macular edema.)

Laser treatment can seal the leaks, thereby preventing further vision loss. In some patients new retinal blood vessels may grow, which will replace some of those that have closed due to diabetes. (This is known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy). This new retinal blood vessel, unlike the normal blood vessel, has a tendency to bleed inside the eye, resulting in decreased vision. Laser treatment can often prevent severe vision loss by making these new vessels regress.

Retinal Vein Occlusion
The small blood vessels that drain the blood from the retina (retinal veins) can sometimes get blocked (retinal vein occlusion). This is more common in patients with diabetes or high blood pressure. A retinal vein occlusion can cause the retina to swell with fluid and blood, blurring central and peripheral vision. At other times, new blood vessels may grow and cause pain as well as very high pressure inside the eye (neovascular glaucoma).

Laser treatment can help reduce this swelling or cause the new blood vessels to disappear.

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
With age, some people may develop changes in the macula, the portion of the retina responsible for our central reading vision. Most people develop the dry type of AMD, which usually causes gradual vision loss. The more severe or wet type causes the macula to swell with fluid and blood. Symptoms of wet macular degeneration include painless, blurred and distorted vision. Urgent laser surgery can sometimes prevent or delay vision loss in patients with wet AMD. While the off central wet AMD patients benefit from thermal laser treatment, those with central vision problems need a prior injection of Visudyne. This is known as photodynamic therapy.

Retinal Breaks and Retinal Detachment
The retina lines the back of the eye like a wallpaper. Retinal tears or rips can occur as part of an aging phenomenon, or following an intraocular surgery or eye injury. When a retinal tear develops, patients often see cobweb-like floaters or light flashes. The liquid that normally fills the central portion of the eye (the vitreous) can leak beneath the tear, lifting the retina away from the eye wall. This is called a retinal detachment, which if left untreated can cause blindness. Often laser surgery around retinal tears before the fluid accumulates enables surgeons to weld the retina to the underlying eye wall. This can prevent or limit retinal detachment.

Central Serous Chorioretinopathy (CSCR)
Central Serous Chorioretinopathy consists of one or more 'blisters' of fluid (serous detachment) beneath the macula. It can cause reduction and distortion of vision, abnormal color vision, central scotoma, and temporary hyperopia or far-sightedness. Although the vast majority of cases resolve on their own, laser photocoagulation is sometimes necessary for persistent lesions and in those patients who require early visual rehabilitation.

Ocular Tumors
Some patients may have non-cancerous leaking vascular tumors that can cause the retina to swell and not function properly. Laser surgery can destroy some of these tumors and make the swelling go away.

How do I know that I require laser treatment?
With retinal diseases your eye will almost always look and feel normal, even when there is bleeding and leakage in the back of the eye. Your vision may also be normal for a while despite the presence of potentially blinding eye problems.

The only way to find out whether you need laser surgery is to have careful, dilated retinal examinations at regular intervals, often followed by a special test (called fluorescein angiography if advised by the retinal specialist), to evaluate the eye's circulation.

After laser surgery
There are virtually no restrictions following retinal laser surgery, but you would need to relax on the day of the treatment. Most patients find they can go back to their routine a day later. Invariably the doctor will advise you not to lift heavy weights for a few weeks. In some cases the doctor may advise patients to stay at home for several days. You will be required to come again for a follow-up examination in a couple of weeks up to a couple of months.

Most patients notice no changes in vision following their laser surgery, although there may be some temporary blurring for several weeks or even months. In addition, depending on the condition being treated, some patients may notice a permanent blind spot or decrease in peripheral and night vision.

Is one session of laser treatment enough?
The number of sessions required by a patient depends on the disease for which the laser treatment is done. It takes usually several weeks to months for surgeons to decide whether the treatment has been successful. Many patients require more than one session of treatment to control their problem and prevent further loss of vision.

Reading Visual Braille with a Retinal Prosthesis - …

Reading visual braille with a retinal prosthesis.

Reading visual braille without hands, now you can - …

Jarek Wiazowski, International Sales and Support for takes a few moments to talk about and demonstrate the new Mountbatten Whisper. The unit is built to be much quieter than a standard Brailler, and includes Bluetooth for interface with an app available for iOS, Android and Mac. The app allows for real-time print-to-Braille and Braille-to-print translation so students and teachers can interact effectively. is the exclusive distributor for the device in the U.S. and Canada, and you can also read more on the or visit the

Reading visual braille with a retinal prosthesis

Blitab is the world’s first Android powered tactile tablet meant for people with visual impairment that displays content in Braille. The tablet consists of two screens – the bottom screen is a traditional touch screen that lists several apps and displays content (text, images, maps etc.) and the screen above consists of several air channels and smart fluid that look at the original content on the screen below, send that content to Blitab’s cloud, convert it to Braille, and display the content in the form of dots that can be easily read by blind users by running their fingers across the screen. Blitab converts text files, documents, images, maps, and even web pages in Braille in real time from the web, usb drives and even NFC tags. There is an option of text to speech as well if the user prefers to listen to the output.

This work suggests that text can successfully be stimulated and read as visual braille in retinal prosthesis patients.
Stronks, H. C. and G. Dagnelie (2014). “The functional performance of the Argus II retinal prosthesis.”  11(1): 23-30. []

Late Blind Subjects with Argus II Retinal Prosthesis

This article will begin with general considerations that are related to all or most of visual prostheses and then concentrate on the retinal and optic nerve designs.

22/11/2012 · Blind people can read visual braille with a retinal prosthesis

Argus II retinal prosthesis implantation with scleral flap and ..

This access to the literate environment doesn’t occur naturally for the child with visual impairment. They need the same exposure to the written word as print readers, so that they can make the same connections and develop a concept of written language. Building a solid foundation of readiness skills and fun experiences from infancy is a critical part of the child’s reading readiness as well as fostering a love of books. Our ultimate goal is to expose the child systematically and as early as possible and often as possible to a rich variety of concrete experiences, involving many objects, people, places, activities, which will support and build a foundation and enthusiasm for Braille reading. Once the child has experiences and language sufficient to read, a more structured reading programme can be introduced.

[PDF] Frontiers in Neuroscience – Reading visual braille with a retinal prosthesis, 2012

Reading visual braille without hands, now you can - WEST

The first and most successful example of a neural stimulation device is the cardiac pacemaker that has become a standard therapeutic approach to improve cardiac function in millions of patients. Technology partially achieved during the development of the pacemaker has been used successfully for rehabilitation of sensory and/or motor functions in patients with neurological diseases. Thus deep brain stimulators have been implanted successfully in patients for pain management and for control of motor disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (Hunter, Yoshino et al. 2004; Pena, Bowsher et al. 2004; Stieglitz, Schuettler et al. 2004), and cochlear implants are being used for restoring auditory function (Brors and Bodmer 2004; Chatelin, Kim et al. 2004; Cohen 2004; Balkany, Hodges et al. 2005; Chang 2005). Moreover advances in artificial limbs and brain-machine interfaces are now providing hope of increased mobility and independence for amputees and paralyzed patients (Donoghue 2002; Nicolelis 2003; Donoghue, Nurmikko et al. 2004; Carmena, Lebedev et al. 2005; Hochberg, Serruya et al. 2006) and there is preliminary data showing that electrophysiological methods can be used to extract neural information about the volitional intent of the subjects to move their distal musculature and then translate these signals into models that are able to control external devices (Barbeau, McCrea et al. 1999; Donoghue 2002; Nicolelis and Chapin 2002; Serruya, Hatsopoulos et al. 2002; Paninski, Fellows et al. 2004; Patil, Carmena et al. 2004; Sanchez, Carmena et al. 2004; Hochberg, Serruya et al. 2006). As more and more patients have benefited from this approach, the interest in neural interfaces and visual prostheses has grown significantly.