Palanker’s invention leads to restoration of vision in patients with age-related macular degeneration

Daniel Palanker, PhD, demonstrates augmented reality glasses simulating prosthetic vision, similar to the PRIMA Bionic Vision System.

Daniel Palanker, PhD, professor of ophthalmology and director of the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, developed a photovoltaic retinal prosthesis for restoring sight in retinal degeneration. This technology has been commercialized through a partnership with Pixium Vision (Paris, France), and the product is called “PRIMA Bionic Vision System”.

Pixium Vision recently reported positive results achieved in a clinical feasibility trial. The device successfully restored central vision to patients blinded by atrophic age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Patients with the PRIMA implant having 100-micron pixels were able to identify letters, numbers, and other patterns with acuity up to 20/460, which is only 15% below the theoretical limit for this pixel size. Due to the wireless nature of the device, its implantation is much easier than with other retinal protheses, and it can be used for restoration of central vision in AMD without jeopardizing the residual peripheral vision.

Looking to the future, Daniel Palanker’s lab at Stanford continues to work on the next generation of implants with smaller pixels to achieve an even higher visual acuity. For this purpose, they are developing three-dimensional electro-neural interface, aiming at pixels as small as 20 microns and acuity better than 20/100.

Pixium Vision is preparing for a multicenter clinical trial of PRIMA in Europe and the US, including at Stanford. In addition to AMD, PRIMA could be used for restoration of sight in patients blinded by retinitis pigmentosa.

To read further about PRIMA and the first feasibility study, visit here. To learn more about Palanker’s and other vision restoration research at Stanford and how you may potentially help accelerate this work, please contact Melanie Erasmus at or call 650-269-4251.