Another therapeutic approach towards recovering the eyesight is the optogenetic retina. This therapy is intended for patients who have lost all of their photoreceptors.
The idea of optogenetics is not to recover the photoreceptors, but to transform other cells in the eye that have not been affected by the disease and to make them photosensitive. These include other cells (so no photoreceptors) that have been connected with the optical nerve. These cells are injected one-off with gene therapy, making them sensitive to infrared light. Transformed cells are not activated by natural light.
With special glasses camera images are converted into infrared images. This infrared light is sent to the transformed (optogenetic) cells. These cells then send a biological signal to the optical nerve.
A visual implant as described above converts images into pixels, which are sent by means of electronic signals. Optogenetics is a development that is like a retina implant, but as the intervention takes place at cellular level, this will hopefully produce a more refined visual image.
At this moment this study it still in an early innovative phase with animal models.
Additionally, mathematical researchers try to further develop the specific cameras for optogenetic retina for even more precise coding of spacial vision and creating an image with more contrast.