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Mohit N. Shivdasani, James B. Fallon, Chi D. Luu, Rosemary Cicione, Penny J. Allen, John W. Morley, Chris E. Williams; Visual Cortex Responses to Single- and Simultaneous Multiple-Electrode Stimulation of the Retina: Implications for Retinal Prostheses. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(10):6291-6300. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-9434.
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The aim of this study was to compare simultaneous stimulation of multiple electrodes to single-electrode stimulation in a retinal prosthesis.
A platinum electrode array was implanted into the suprachoroidal space in six normally sighted anesthetized cats. Multiunit activity from the primary visual cortex in response to retinal stimulation was recorded. Cortical thresholds, yield of responses, dynamic ranges, and the spread of retinal activation were measured for three modes of stimulation: single electrode, half-row (six-electrode horizontal line), and column (seven-electrode vertical line).
Stimulation of the best half-rows and columns was found to elicit activity with higher yield and lower charge thresholds per electrode compared to the best single electrodes. Dynamic ranges between the three modes were similar. As expected, peak voltages measured for columns and half-rows were lower than those measured for single electrodes. Spread of retinal activation, determined by the increase in threshold with distance in the retina from the best site, was found to be similar between single- and multiple-electrode stimulation but dependent on orientation.
The lower thresholds, higher yield, equivalent dynamic ranges, and equivalent spread of retinal activation observed from simultaneous stimulation of multiple electrodes may be due to current and/or neural summation within the retina. Such stimulation techniques could be useful for the presentation of lines and edges of objects using a suprachoroidal retinal stimulator with low voltage compliance. Furthermore, the results suggest that more complex visual processing strategies in addition to sequential stimulation of individual electrodes should be considered for retinal prostheses.
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