Sara Reardon’s article covers a biological study where a blind man’s vision was restored due to an injection of light-sensitive proteins. The study background mainly covers a field of science associated with neuron firing and gene expressions controlled by beams of light. Most laboratories have often incorporated this technique in explaining biological processes such as neutron circuitry. This has made optogenetics a potential method of treating conditions such as brain-related diseases, pain, and blindness.
The test was conducted on a 58-year old male participant who had been blind due to a condition called retinitis pigmentosa (RP) for the last forty years. Upon injecting the light-sensitive proteins into the participant’s retina, they had to wait for four months, then tested his vision. This period allowed the retinal ganglion cells to generate the proteins. After this period, the researchers discovered that the participant could see images of moving objects. However, his vision was still very blurry as the artificially generated proteins could not match the natural retinal proteins. In that case, the researchers in this study designed goggles to optimize the visualization process.
I would consider this research vital as it would help address and treat one of the most common degenerative disorders related to the eye; retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The most exciting thing I found in this article is that this process has proved to be safe and permanent. This would encourage most patients with this disorder to opt for the procedure, even though it would not completely restore their vision. This research study was mainly based on a biological topic called optogenetics. I chose this article because it addressed blindness, a condition that many people believe is permanent. Moreover, it was the first successful test related to optogenetics.