Retinal Implants Help Blind People Regain Meaningful Visual Perception (+VIDEO)
Scientists at the Institute for Ophthalmic Research at the University of Tübingen have succeeded in restoring vision to blind patients using tiny retinal implants embedded in the eye. They ran an experimental trial with a group of the blind volunteers, who had all lost their vision through hereditary retinal dystrophy but could still detect light. They have surgically implanted subretinally a light-sensitive, externally powered microchip near the macular region. As a result three previously blind persons could locate bright objects on a dark table, two of which could make out grating patterns. One of these patients could correctly describe and name objects on a table, geometric patterns, different kinds of fruit and discern shades of grey with only 15 per cent contrast; moreover the regained visual functions enabled him to localize and approach persons in a room freely and to read large letters as complete words after several years of blindness.