Vision Loss Research


– THERE’S MANY VETERANS THAT
HAVE BLINDING DISORDERS, PARTICULARLY RETINITIS
PIGMENTOSA AND AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION. MACULAR DEGENERATION IS ONE
OF THE MOST PROMINENT BLINDING DISEASES ACROSS THE POPULATION
AS WELL AS IN VETERANS. – DR. PARDUE IS ONE OF MANY
RESEARCHERS AT THE ATLANTA VA MEDICAL CENTER WORKING TO HELP
RESTORE VISION TO VETERANS. – WE HAVE A VERY EXCITING
PROJECT THAT’S BEEN GOING ON FOR SEVERAL YEARS THAT
LOOKS AT RETINAL CHIPS BEING IMPLANTED IN THE EYE. – LOOK AWAY. LOOK AT IT. LOOK AWAY. LOOK AT IT. – THAT’S REALLY, REALLY
IMPORTANT TO VETERANS AS THEY GET OLDER WITH LOW
VISION AND EYE DISEASE. IT’S REALLY CRITICAL THAT
WE TAKE CARE OF THEIR EYES SO THAT THEY HAVE A BETTER
LIFESTYLE AS THEY GET OLDER. – WE’VE DEVELOPED THE RESEARCH
TO BE ABLE TO BRING NEW THINGS ON BOARD. SO, FOR EXAMPLE, WE’RE
DOING RESEARCH ON THE RETINAL PROSTHETICS. SO PEOPLE WHO HAVE PRETTY
PROFOUND VISION LOSS CAN AT LEAST GET BACK FUNCTIONAL
VISION SO THAT THEY CAN GET AROUND WITHOUT ASSISTANCE,
THEY CAN DO SOME BASIC, EVERYDAY LIFE ACTIVITIES
WITHOUT HAVING TO RELY ON SOMEBODY ELSE. – THE MAIN PROJECT IN THE LAB
IS USING A RETINAL PROSTHETIC. THIS IS A SMALL IMPLANT THAT
HAS A SERIES OF MICRO-PHOTO DIODES ON THEM WHICH ARE LIKE
LITTLE SOLAR CELLS, AND WHEN LIGHT HITS THIS SOLAR CELL,
IT CREATES ELECTRICAL CURRENT. AND THE IDEA IS THAT THIS
COULD BE PUT INSIDE A PERSON’S EYE AND THIS DEVICE
WOULD RESTORE VISION. – VA RESEARCHERS ARE ALSO
WORKING TO IMPROVE AND DESIGN NEW ASSISTIVE DEVICES FOR
THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED AND TO DEVELOP MORE ACCURATE
AND EFFICIENT METHODS OF VISION ASSESSMENT. – WE GO BEYOND THE NORMAL
TESTING THAT ONE WOULD DO IN A CLINIC LIKE VISUAL ACUITY
OR VISUAL FIELD TESTING. WE TRY AND TEST EVERYDAY
TASKS, SUCH AS SEARCHING AROUND AND TRYING TO FIND
AN OBJECT IN FRONT OF YOU. – SO WHAT OBJECT DO
YOU THINK THIS IS? – FISH? – REMEMBER WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE,
AND TELL ME WHEN YOU’VE FOUND IT IN THIS PICTURE. – I FOUND IT. – THE TEST ALLOWS US TO BE
ABLE TO ASSESS HOW WELL CAN ONE FIND AN OBJECT, ESPECIALLY
IN A CLUTTERED ENVIRONMENT. THE MORE SUCCESS WE HAVE IN
OUR RESEARCH, THE MORE LIKELY THAT THE VETERANS WILL BE ABLE
TO KEEP THEIR OWN LIFE, DO THE HOBBIES THAT THEY LIKE TO DO. BEING ABLE TO DO THE THINGS
THAT WE ALL LOVE TO DO IN OUR EVERYDAY LIFE, YOU DON’T MISS
THEM UNTIL YOU CAN’T DO THEM, AND THEN YOU REALLY MISS THEM.

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