Retinal Implants Help Blind People Regain Meaningful Visual Perception (+VIDEO)
Scientists at the Institute for Ophthalmic Research at the University of TÃ¼bingen 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.