Optogenetic gene therapies to restore vision are in clinical trials. Whilst current clinical approaches target the ganglion cells, the output neurons of the retina, new molecular tools enable efficient targeting of the first order retinal interneurons, the bipolar cells, with the potential to restore a higher quality of vision. Here we investigate retinal signaling and behavioral vision in blind mice treated with bipolar cell targeted optogenetic gene therapies. All tested tools, including medium-wave opsin, Opto-mGluR6 and two new melanopsin based chimeras restored visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. The best performing opsin was a novel melanopsin-mGluR6 chimera, which in some cases restored visual acuities and contrast sensitivities that match wild-type animals. Light re-
sponses from the ganglion cells were robust with diverse receptive-field types, inferring elaborate inner retinal signaling. Our results highlight the potential of bipolar cell targeted optogenetics to recover high-level vision in human patients with end-stage retinal degenerations.