The journal Nature Communications published the results of a study by scientists from Fudan University, who developed a prototype of a new artificial photoreceptor. This is the name of the light-sensitive structures inside the eyes, which are responsible for receiving information from the outside - what we call "the ability to see." Like any part of the body, they can be damaged, but now researchers have a chance to create a special prosthesis.
Chinese scientists took titanium dioxide as a basis, a material with a pronounced reaction to the hit of light photons. They constructed networks of photoreceptors from it, which they implanted in experimental mice using gold nanowires. But first, for the sake of purity of the experiment, the vivisectors damaged the genome of the rodents, so that they became blind "naturally", due to the degradation of their own photoreceptors in the eyes.
After the implants were installed in the blind mice, they again began to react to light, and the reaction differed depending on the selected part of the visible spectrum. But only - at the current stage, scientists cannot understand how detailed the mice see, whether they recognize images, correctly or not distinguish colors. Only the very fact of restoring the reaction to light - however, the implants have successfully worked for more than 8 weeks on different individuals without any side effects, which is already a good result.
Experts from other countries have already seen in the Chinese development a chance to get a cheap and effective remedy for ailments like retinitis pigmentosa or macular degeneration. Both diseases are very common in all countries, especially among the elderly - if we learn to replace the used photoreceptors with implants, the world will surely "see the light" anew.