Ligon Research Center of Vision
The Ligon Research Center of Vision is a multidisciplinary center of Kresge Eye Institute and Wayne State University. The Ligon Research Center of Vision is one of only a few centers in the world that is exploring the possibility of artificial vision for the blind. The Ligon Research Center of Vision is unique from other centers in three very distinct areas:
  • Investigating microelectronic stimulation of both the retina and the brain to restore vision.
  • Investigating both electrical stimulation of the retina as well as a chemical stimulation.
  • Investigating drug therapies to prevent loss of vision.
The center collaborates with several departments at Wayne State University including Ophthalmology, Neurosurgery, Anatomy & Cell Biology and Electrical & Chemical Engineering.

To download the Ligon Research Center of Vison brochure, click here.

The creation of the center was made possible through a series of very generous gifts made by Robert and Gerry Ligon and their family.

Our Mission
  • Prevention of blindness and restoration of vision in the blind.
  • Conduct interdisciplinary research on the neurobiology, biotechnology and
    physiology of prosthetic vision in the blind and other areas on the leading edge of eye research.

In order to conduct the research necessary to accomplish our mission, our scientists need additional external funding support from both private and public sources.

How the Eye Works

In the human eye, light passes through the front parts of the eye - the cornea, the pupil and the lens. The retina, acting somewhat like a film, receives the light and an image is transmitted though the nearby optic nerve to the brain. The brain converts these signals into visual images that we see. 

Loss of Vision

Blindness can result from a variety of diseases that affect the eye, or from injury to the eye. With most causes of blindness, some parts of the visual system remain intact. This provides an opportunity to create artificial vision using healthy parts of the visual system and special devices (implants) to substitute for damaged parts of the eye or optic nerve.

Our Research

While the concept of artificial vision may seem revolutionary and improbable, technological advances in computers, lasers and microelectronics make this a realistic probability. We are optimistic in part because of the talent and resources of Kresge Eye Institute and Wayne State University.

Two different implants - retinal (eye) and cortical (brain) - are being developed to help people, depending upon the nature of their blindness.

Retinal Implant

We are developing a retinal implant (a tiny device that will be surgically implanted within the eye) that could restore some vision in patients that have lost most of their vision. 

Cortical Implant

Patients who have lost their sight from retinal scarring or from damage to their optic nerve may benefit from direct stimulation of the visual cortex of the brain, using a cortical implant, which substitutes for input from the eye.

Prevention of Retinal Degeneration

A third area of research is the development of new methods to deliver drugs to the eye that can prevent retinal degeneration.

Meeting Our Mission

The Ligon Research Center is part of the Kresge Eye Institute which is a nonprofit organization. This means philanthropy plays a critical role in our ability to continue with the cutting edge research and our ability to help cure blindness. Your gifts can help the center maintain its excellent reputation as one of the leaders in artificial vision research. Please consider making a financial contribution as a way to help further the care and treatments we are able to offer our patients today and into the future.


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