15 Year Research Results Restores Partial Sight in 27% of Patients

November 4th, 2010
15 Year Research Results Restores Partial Sight in 27% of Patients

Fifteen years of research in the field of retinal implants might be close to paying off. A sub-retinal microchip has been tested on 11 people with retinitis pigmentosa, an incurable condition that starts in infancy with sight which gradually diminishes into blindness.

The research, carried out by Professor Eberhart Zrenner of the University of Tuebingen in Germany, was published in Proceedings B, the biological research journal of London’s Royal Society. The research suggests that three of the 11 people involves could establish shapes following retinal implant insertion.

Mikka Terho, 46, of Finland, could read big letters and the face of a clock as well as distinguish between shades of gray after his eyes had attuned to the light, a few days after receiving the implant.

The chip is activated by a battery-powered wire that is places at the rear of the ear and adapts light into electrical impulses that cat on the optic nerve. Zrenner’s group plans additional study on their original model and European Union support is being sought after for commercialization of the chip.

The other eight people who tested the retinal chip did not experience similar success to Terho because, according to the research, the chips were not implanted as deeply into their eyes.

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