A team of ophthalmologists, led by the Jacobs Retina Center Director Dr. William Freeman, partners with Nanovision Biosciences and UCSD to develop an artificial retina.

Links: Full Paper, UCSD News Press Release

New Nano-Implant Could One Day Help Restore Sight

With high-resolution retinal prosthesis built from nanowires and wireless electronics, engineers are one step closer to restoring neurons’ ability to respond to light


Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) image of individual nanowires and groupies of nanowires. Each wire can produce an electric current when hit by light.

A team of engineers at the University of California San Diego and La Jolla-based startup Nanovision Biosciences Inc. have developed the nanotechnology and wireless electronics for a new type of retinal prosthesis that brings research a step closer to restoring the ability of neurons in the retina to respond to light. The researchers demonstrated this response to light in a rat retina interfacing with a prototype of the device in vitro.

They detail their work in a recent issue of the Journal of Neural Engineering. The technology could help tens of millions of people worldwide suffering from neurodegenerative diseases that affect eyesight, including macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and loss of vision due to diabetes.

Despite tremendous advances in the development of retinal prostheses over the past two decades, the performance of devices currently on the market to help the blind regain functional vision is still severely limited—well under the acuity threshold of 20/200 that defines legal blindness. Continue reading “A team of ophthalmologists, led by the Jacobs Retina Center Director Dr. William Freeman, partners with Nanovision Biosciences and UCSD to develop an artificial retina.”

Toy Story

“If it wasn’t for Bill, I would be walking around with a seeing eye dog right now.” – Yanofsky

Peter Yanofsky, who runs WowWee’s U.S. operations in La Jolla, with the robot MiP. The new toy can be controlled with hand gestures or commands from smartphones. It can roll, dance and play games.

UC San Diego is learning that making money can be child’s play. For the first time, the university has licensed some of its technology to a well-known toymaker, which will use it to power and control a zippy-and-trippy little robot called MiP. WowWee, whose U.S. operations are based in La Jolla, has been logging a brisk pace of orders for the $99 toy, which will go on shelves at Best Buy starting in May. The University of California San Diego could earn about $1 million in tech-transfer fees on MiP, and more riches may follow. The school plans to help WowWee develop a half-dozen or so other products, hoping to create a fee-generating blockbuster in the nation’s $22 billion toy industry.

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UC San Diego Shiley Eye Institute Physician Honored with Day of Recognition

After more than 20 years of service to the San Diego community, William R. Freeman, M.D.,professor of ophthalmology at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Director of the UCSD Jacobs Retina Center adjacent to Shiley Eye Center, is being recognized by The Foundation Fighting Blindness as well as The City of San Diego.

On Wednesday, May 14, 2008, the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) will honor Freeman with the Visionary Award at their inaugural San Diego Dining in the Dark. The Visionary Award celebrates extraordinary people and professionals who support efforts to find treatments and cures for vision loss, as well as individuals who have made a profound impact on their community.

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Clincal Trials Update

Director of the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Retina Center (JRC) and Professor of Ophthalmology William Freeman, M.D., and his team of physicians, scientists, and staff are currently conducting a number of clinical trials related to retinal diseases, such as Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Retinal Vein Occlusion, and Diabetic Retinopathy.

These clinical trials are taking place in the new JRC adjoining the UCSD Shiley Eye Institute. The Jacobs Retina Center is home to specially designed labs and clinical evaluation facilities as well as staff and faculty who examine, evaluate, and assess patients or participants of clinical trials. The rooms are equipped with specialized charts and equipment that test not only basic reading and vision capabilities but also take into account factors like contrast sensitivity. For example, a patient may not see the “E” on the black-on-white chart, known as the Snellen visual acuity chart, but that patient may see the “E” on a chart that is different shades of gray-on-gray. In addition, there are many specialized instruments that measure retinal function and structure in non-invasive ways. These instruments allow the researchers to study the response of the retina to new treatments. Continue reading “Clincal Trials Update”

Optical Coherence Topograhpy and its uses in gauging HIV retinal damage

Optical coherence tomography gauges HIV retinal damage

Updated: 2005-03-31 (Reuters Health)

By David Douglas

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is useful in assessing retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness in HIV patients, who can develop visual problems in the absence of cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis.

By using OCT, senior investigator Dr. William R. Freeman told Reuters Health, “one can objectively measure the damage to the retina which appears to result in these vision losses in HIV patients without infections in the retina.”
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