Retinal Implant Restores Partial Vision to Blind

Microchip under retina senses light, sends signals to brain
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2010 6:21 PM CDT
Doctors in Germany used a sub-retinal implant to restore sight to three blind patients.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – Scientists in Germany have used an implant to restore at least partial eyesight to three patients with a disease that causes degenerative blindness, PhysOrg reports. The new device, called a sub-retinal implant, is a light-sensitive microchip with 1,500 light sensors inserted below the retina. Previous devices required an implant attached to a camera mounted on eyeglasses.

"Three previously blind persons could locate bright objects on a dark table, two of whom could discern grating patterns," says the paper, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The patients suffered from retinitis pigmentosa, but the device could someday help the large number of older people who suffer from macular degeneration, notes CBS.

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