If an individual had vision prior to receiving an implant, will it be easier for them to use the implant?
- This implant can only be used in people that previously had vision. The individual should have had sight at least until age 12 for the visual cortex to develop sufficiently.
Is it possible to remember what things (i.e. cars, a bus, loved ones) look like if you lost your vision decades ago?
- We rely on information obtained from conversations with people who are blind. From our informational session, it is our understanding that they do remember what things look like.
Is the implant attempting to re-route or re-direct vision through a different pathway in order to establish vision?
- The implant will use a pathway different from the normal pathways that have been damaged due to an injury or disease. It bypasses the eyes and optic nerves and directly stimulates the visual cortex.
VISION PROSTHESIS DEVELOPMENT
Does a retinal prosthesis measure what is in all the sections of the retina?
- A retinal prosthesis stimulates only a portion of the retina that corresponds to where the retinal prosthesis is placed.
How many people in the US currently use a retinal prosthesis (i.e. Argus)?
- We do not know how many individuals have been implanted with the Argus II.
How will the implant work if you have damage to the retina or optic nerve?
- The ICVP is meant to bypass the eyes and optic nerves and directly stimulate the visual cortex to produce vision.
Where is the input coming from for this (ICVP) implant? Is there a camera?
- There is a camera that will be attached either to a hat or a pair of glasses the individuals will wear.
Is this implant (ICVP) able to improve or refine visual perception the longer you use it?
- It is expected that over time, the brain will learn to interpret the artificial vision information. While the visual perception is expected to be crude, and nothing like normal biological vision, some useful visual perception may result. Learning to use the crude information will be an important part of what we discover from the first ICVP recipients.
Is there a rehabilitation process following implantation of this device (ICVP)?
- The ICVP project is currently at feasibility stage. It is not known to what extent there will be any useful visual perception, and this may vary from recipient to recipient. The degree of adaptation and rehabilitation will depend upon what the initial testing results reveal.
ICVP PROJECT INFORMATION
Do you expect people with the implant to have visual memories only or to generate new vision? Can individuals integrate the information from visual percepts in a meaningful way?
- Visual memories will undoubtedly assist the ICVP recipient to interpret the artificial visual information. However, since the artificial vision is unlike normal vision, it is not clear what role the early visual memories will have. As the ICVP system is used, new – artificial vision memories may be formed.
Is rejection of the implant a possibility?
- Whenever an implantable device is placed within the human body, there is a biological reaction to the foreign object. The degree of reaction may be insignificant, mild, or noticeable. The ICVP system is fabricated from materials that have been extensively tested for biocompatibility. However, the reaction of any particular person to an implant can be variable.
Is the implant placed on both sides of the brain or just one?
- The device will be placed on only one side of the brain. This is done to allow the participant the opportunity to use another implant later in life if they decide to do so.
Would this implant (ICVP) benefit those with vision loss due to being born prematurely?
- The prosthesis can only be implanted in individuals who have previously had vision.
Is there training involved after implantation of this device (ICVP)? If so, would that training be completed at home or in a hospital setting?
- Most likely extended training will be needed following implantation. In order to assess the usefulness of the system, testing and training will need to take place in the clinic. The results of that clinical testing and training will determine how, or if, the system can be used outside of the clinical laboratory.
Are there any other major risks of implantation other than epilepsy?
- Infection, seizures, and pain, are risks associated with any brain surgery. As with any surgery, the biggest risk is undergoing anesthesia.
What exactly is implanted?
- Multiple dot-like stimulator modules, each about the size of the tip of a pencil eraser, each containing 18 microelectrodes are implanted directly onto the visual cortex in the occipital lobe (located on the back of the head above the neck).
Do participants in this study keep this device once the study is complete?
- Allowing participants to keep all parts of the once the study is complete will depend upon how the study protocol is defined. Currently this is not yet fully defined.
How long does this device stay implanted?
- There are no plans to remove the implantable stimulator modules unless there is a medical need to do so.
How much does this device cost participants?
- There will be no cost to the participants in this study.
Is the study looking for participants?
- The ICVP study is requesting research volunteers. For more information, please contact Dr. Frank Lane at ICVP@iit.edu.