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Development and Implantation of a Minimally Invasive Wireless Subretinal Neurostimulator

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11 Author(s)
Douglas B. Shire* ; VA Boston Healthcare Syst., Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Innovative Visual Rehabilitation, Boston, MA, USA ; Shawn K. Kelly ; Jinghua Chen ; Patrick Doyle
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A wirelessly operated, minimally invasive retinal prosthesis was developed for preclinical chronic implantation studies in Yucatan minipig models. The implant conforms to the outer wall of the eye and drives a microfabricated polyimide stimulating electrode array with sputtered iridium oxide electrodes. This array is implanted in the subretinal space using a specially designed ab externo surgical technique that fixes the bulk of the prosthesis to the outer surface of the sclera. The implanted device is fabricated on a host polyimide flexible circuit. It consists of a 15-channel stimulator chip, secondary power and data receiving coils, and discrete power supply components. The completed device is encapsulated in poly(dimethylsiloxane) except for the reference/counter electrode and the thin electrode array. In vitro testing was performed to verify the performance of the system in biological saline using a custom RF transmitter circuit and primary coils. Stimulation patterns as well as pulse strength, duration, and frequency were programmed wirelessly using custom software and a graphical user interface. Wireless operation of the retinal implant has been verified both in vitro and in vivo in three pigs for more than seven months, the latter by measuring stimulus artifacts on the eye surface using contact lens electrodes.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering  (Volume:56 ,  Issue: 10 )