Cellular migration into a subretinal honeycomb-shaped prosthesis for high-resolution prosthetic vision

Mohajeet B. Bhuckory, Bing-Yi Wang, Zhijie Charles Chen, Andrew Shin, Tiffany Huang, Ludwig Galambos, Efstathios Vounotrypidis, Keith Mathieson, Theodore Kamins, Daniel Palanker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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In patients blinded by geographic atrophy, a subretinal photovoltaic implant with 100 µm pixels provided visual acuity closely matching the pixel pitch. However, such flat bipolar pixels cannot be scaled below 75 µm, limiting the attainable visual acuity. This limitation can be overcome by shaping the electric field with 3-dimensional (3-D) electrodes. In particular, elevating the return electrode on top of the honeycomb-shaped vertical walls surrounding each pixel extends the electric field vertically and decouples its penetration into tissue from the pixel width. This approach relies on migration of the retinal cells into the honeycomb wells. Here, we demonstrate that majority of the inner retinal neurons migrate into the 25 µm deep wells, leaving the third-order neurons, such as amacrine and ganglion cells, outside. This enables selective stimulation of the second-order neurons inside the wells, thus preserving the intraretinal signal processing in prosthetic vision. Comparable glial response to that with flat implants suggests that migration and separation of the retinal cells by the walls does not cause additional stress. Furthermore, retinal migration into the honeycombs does not negatively affect its electrical excitability, while grating acuity matches the pixel pitch down to 40 μm and reaches the 27 μm limit of natural resolution in rats with 20 μm pixels. These findings pave the way for 3-D subretinal prostheses with pixel sizes of cellular dimensions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2307380120
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue number42
Early online date13 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2023


  • retinal prosthesis
  • vision restoration
  • neuronal migration
  • age-related macular degeneration
  • blindness


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