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Two startup companies say they plan to start clinical trials to treat blindness by combining an emerging technology called optogenetics with high-tech goggles that can beam light into the eye.

The companies, GenSight Biologics of Paris and Bionic Sight, a startup out of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, both say a combination of wearable electronics and gene therapy has a chance to restore vision by re-creating the retina’s ability to sense light.

Both companies are aiming to help patients with a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, which destroys light-sensing cells in the retina. If the approach works, it could in theory be used to treat any type of retinal disease that involves the loss of these cells, called photoreceptors.

Image: By http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/02/91/8fd960f5f43cee5811693cf3737d.jpgGallery: http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/M0000988.html, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36309759

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MIT Technology Review

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