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What blindness can tell us about seeing again: merging neuroplasticity and neuroprostheses

Abstract

Significant progress has been made in the development of visual neuroprostheses to restore vision in blind individuals. Appropriate delivery of electrical stimulation to intact visual structures can evoke patterned sensations of light in those who have been blind for many years. However, success in developing functional visual prostheses requires an understanding of how to communicate effectively with the visually deprived brain in order to merge what is perceived visually with what is generated electrically.

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Figure 1: Summary diagram of the visual system and approaches to restore vision.
Figure 2: The multi-modal nature of our sensory world and its implications for implementing a visual prothesis to restore vision.

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Acknowledgements

Funding for this work is provided by a National Research Service Award fellowship from the National Eye Institute to L.B.M., a Department of Veterans Affairs, Rehabilitation Research and Development Service grant to J.F.R., a National Science Foundation grant to D.C.S. and a National Science Foundation Science of Learning Centers Catalyst Award and National Center for Research Resources grant to A.P.L.

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Correspondence to Lotfi B. Merabet.

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FUTHER INFORMATION

Encyclopedia of Life Sciences

Cortical plasticity: use-dependent remodelling

Eye anatomy

Macular degeneration, age related

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Merabet, L., Rizzo, J., Amedi, A. et al. What blindness can tell us about seeing again: merging neuroplasticity and neuroprostheses. Nat Rev Neurosci 6, 71–77 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn1586

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