Retinal Implants Clear New Hurdle

Research published in the Proceeding of the Royal Society B found that German-designed implants designed to restore vision to people blinded by retinal disease have succeeded in the second phase of trials. The device was tested for up to nine months on nine patients with retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited disease in which light receptors on the back of the eyeball degenerate and eventually stop functioning. Of the nine patients studied, a third of them were able to read letters spontaneously, according to Retina Implant AG, the company that invented the device. The implants consist of a miniscule light-sensitive chip that sends electrical signals down the optic nerve to the brain.