Retinal implants are biomedical microchips designed to provide visual perception to people who have lost vision owing to degenerative eye diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. These conditions lead to slow degeneration of photoreceptor cells in the retina of human eyes, leading to gradual loss of sight. However, some of the inner retinal neurons capable of transmitting signals from photoreceptors to the brain are preserved in most cases. Electrical stimulation of these remaining retinal neurons with the help of retinal implants, which are essentially microchips containing an array of light-sensitive diodes capable of converting incident light into electrical signals, can help reintroduce some vision to patients.
The report presents a detailed overview of the present state of the global retinal implants market and its crucial elements. It presents an analysis of the major factors that will influence the growth dynamics of the market and shape its future.
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The data has been gathered with the help of primary and secondary research methodologies, and narrowed down with the help of industry-leading analytical methods. A definitive account of the regulatory scenario governing market decisions has also been included in the report, along with an analysis of the expected impact of the regulatory scenario on the market.
Retinal Implants Market: Present Scenario
Retinal implants were considered a medical impossibility until a few decades ago, primarily owing to the highly complex design of the human eye. However, some retinal implants have successfully cleared clinical trials and are being regularly used in clinics in developed regions such as Europe and North America.
Retinal implants such as Alpha IMS, developed by Germany-based Retina Implant AG, and Argus II, developed by U.S.-based Second Sight Medical Products, have received approval for large-scale marketing and are being successfully implanted in patients with retinitis pigmentosa.
With the rising number of successful outcomes of retinal implants and advancement in technologies, the global retinal implants market holds immense potential in helping patients with RP and several other degenerative conditions regain their sight.
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Increase in the geriatric population and the consequent rise in the prevalence of degenerative conditions, technological advancements, and growing disposable income in developing countries will act as major drivers of the global retinal implant market in the next few years.
Currently, retinal implants available in the market fall into two categories: epiretinal implants, which are fixed on the retina, and subretinal implants, which are fitted behind the retina. Retinal implants that can be fitted above the vascular choroid, called suprachoroidal implants, are also in clinical trials.
Retinal Implants Market: Challenges and Growth Opportunities
Biocompatibility and long-term stability of the material used for devising retinal implants are the major challenges in the global retinal implants market. These technical challenges have induced manufacturers and researchers to explore the use of new materials and combinations that will be most suitable for human eyes. This factor acts as a major restraint of the market as well as a major opportunity for medical device manufacturers and researchers.
Lack of medical reimbursement in developing and underdeveloped countries is a key issue restraining the global retinal implants market. In Germany, the Alpha IMS microchip is reimbursed by the statutory health insurance system, which insures 90% of the country’s population.
Complex surgery, difference in people’s biological response to foreign objects being placed inside their bodies, and high cost of procedures are the other major challenges faced by the global retinal implants market. Owing to the complex nature of implant surgeries, comprehensive training in the technology and technique and appropriate selection of patients is also a crucial factor governing the large-scale adoption of retinal implants. Dearth of trained professionals in several regions is limiting demand for retinal implants.