5 New Technologies That Help Treat Low Vision And Vision Loss

Like other forms of disability, vision loss and impairment can greatly impact a person’s daily activities and restrict their life opportunities.

According to the World Health Organization, at least 2.2 billion people worldwide suffer from partial and total blindness, with productivity losses amounting to USD$ 244 billion for near sighted people. The global health agency adds that some eye problems would have been preventable if only people had access to quality healthcare.

Fortunately, medical companies have developed various treatments using specific technologies to ease low vision or complete loss of it. Here’s a thorough discussion of such innovations:

1.Eye Injections

Eye injections treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), other retinal problems, and diabetes-related eye conditions. This rehabilitation method involves using a specialized syringe filled with a drug called bevacizumab, like the one offered by https://fagronsterile.com.

The drug, which the Food and Drug Administration originally approved as a cancer treatment, has been found to be safe and effective for people with AMD, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). 

When injected, bevacizumab prevents abnormal blood vessels from leaking into the back of the eye, one of the main reasons for low vision. It also blocks the growth of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a chemical that promotes the formation of abnormal blood vessels. 

2.Artificial-Intelligence-Embedded Apps

Artificial intelligence has revolutionized how machines are used across all applications, with the medical industry often leading the way. For instance, the Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled remote and real-time patient health monitoring for better diagnosis.

Various applications have also been developed to help low-vision patients, including voice-activated apps that can be connected to multiple devices. In a smart home, patients with impaired vision can verbalize commands rather than press the screen or buttons.  

AI-powered mobile apps, particularly ones created by a giant tech firm, can convert images into audio texts. Users can take photos, and the names or tags will then be read to them by their smartphones. In addition, the development of driverless cars can also help people with visual problems.   

That being said, the platform provides numerous benefits across all sectors and addresses interlinked issues affecting vulnerable people, including the visually impaired.

3.Retinal Implants

In the early 2000s, a revolutionary device called the Argus I was surgically implanted in a few people with total blindness, with positive results. The machine worked by stimulating the reception of light spots called phosphenes using low levels of electricity.

Years later, its improved version, Argus II, benefitted 300 people after getting a nod from European countries in 2011 and the United States in 2013. The device works by embedding a chip into the patient’s retinal surface. Video cameras are integrated into a pair of glasses to receive visual stimuli. Upon receipt, these cameras convert the stimuli and transport them to the chip, stimulating the ganglion cells in the front section of the retina.

While the device has limitations, technology continues to drive medical technology firms from other countries, most notably Germany and Paris, to develop their own versions of these so-called bionic eyes.

4.Infrared Goggles

The Technical University of Munich in Germany has developed a 3D camera and haptic feedback armband to help increase mobility and reduce the challenges faced by persons with partial or total blindness.

Researchers install infrared cameras on the goggles to get a stereoscopic image of a person’s immediate surroundings, which is processed and mapped by a computer. Meanwhile, the matching armband uses vibrations to help patients sense nearby objects, minimizing accidents. Infrared cameras allow the device to be used during night time to spot things around the user. Once available for market distribution, these goggles can easily replace the traditional cane while boosting a patient’s navigation skills.

Additionally, other assistive devices are either in the development or testing stages. A tech company has developed a smart cane, while the University of Georgia is testing its AI-fuelled backpack for similar purposes.

5.Gene And Stem Cell Therapies

For years, it seemed that people with genetic blindness had lost the opportunity to regain their vision. Fortunately, science has found a way to work around this problem by addressing its core. The US Food and Drug Administration and the European Union recently approved a product for treating Leber’s congenital amaurosis and retinitis pigmentosa using gene therapy as a treatment modality.

The drug is also administered through subretinal injections to provide a working copy of problematic genes into a patient’s eye. Other remedies for inherited eye problems, such as achromatopsia and Stargardt disease, are still being studied.  

Meanwhile, stem cell therapy replaces damaged cells and increases the body’s ability to renew them. This method is often used in degenerative retinal conditions, including retinitis pigmentosa and AMD. Its efficacy has yet to be proven in larger studies.

Final Thoughts

Tech companies continue to create an inclusive society by developing devices that improve the users’ quality of life, particularly those suffering from low vision or vision loss. While some of the products mentioned above are awaiting market release, one can only hope to have easy access to these tools once they’re approved for commercial use.