Retinal prostheses may one day improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) or millions of blind patients with advanced age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), depending on their effectiveness. While considerable progress has been made in electrical stimulation of the retina, herein we explore some possible alternatives to electrical stimulation for retinal prosthesis. Since neurotransmitters normally shape visual responses, some groups have been developing visual prostheses based upon the spatially and temporally controlled delivery of neurotransmitters to the retina. This chapter examines the possibilities for utilizing these chemical messengers, as a means to effectively stimulate retinal ganglion cells and produce vision along established visual information channels.
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