Retina implant device offers new hope for blind people

The Retina Implant developed by German medical technology company IIP Technologies, which is designed to restore a degree of sight to blind people suffering from certain retinal degenerations, has successfully been put through a clinical test. 19 out of 20 patients that took part in a study by four European clinics reported that visual perception had been triggered by electrical stimulation.

In the acute test involving patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, a section of the prosthesis (chip) developed by IIP was inserted into the eye for less than an hour to see whether and under what conditions visual perception could be triggered by electrical stimulation of the retina. This clinical test was the most significant study in the world so far for the systematic testing of this kind of retinal stimulation. The visual perceptions described by the patients and the stimulation parameters required to trigger these perceptions represent a good basis for the further development of a visual prosthesis that can be implanted permanently.

The relevant ethical committee has authorized a further clinical test with patients affected by macular degeneration. This test will be carried out over the next few months in collaboration with the University Eye Clinic in Hamburg and will be completed some time next year.

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