Scientists in the UK have successfully restored sight for two British men who were completely blind. These two men had retinis pigmentosa, which is a genetic condition that results in blindness.
UK doctors implanted a wireless device in the form of microchips (3mm by 3mm) into an area just below the retina; these devices, developed by Retina Implant AG in Germany, contain 1500 light detectors that allow the optic nerve to receive electronic signals, which restores vision.
Just after the implantation, the patients were able to detect light and see objects against a dark background.
Robin Millar, a 60-year-old music producer who was second to receive the implant, told Telegraph “I have even dreamt in very vivid color for the first time in 25 years so a part of my brain which had gone to sleep has woken up!”
The initial results of the procedure are promising, and the two men will continue to have follow-up visits. Clinical trials have taken place in the UK and Germany for six years, and developers hope to receive approval for more testing. These doctors believe the device will greatly improve quality of life for people with retinis pigmentosa.
Retinis pigmentosa affects about 3,000 to 4,000 individuals in Europe, and it is a genetic condition. The implants are able to treat the condition, according to successes like with these two men, but the devices do not currently work for all types of blindness. Researchers hope that individuals with other blindness, such as macular degeneration or glaucoma, might benefit from future study.
Photo by luisar