Retina Implant AG from Reutlingen, Germany has announced the results of the first human trial of its subretinal implant. Eleven patients who lost their sight due to retinitis pigmentosa received the implant through surgical transchoroidal implantation. Energy was delivered to the implant via a retroauricular plug. Implantation was successful in all patients without any adverse events.
From the press release:
“I first noticed my eyesight was impaired at 16, and over a period of 16-17 years, my condition deteriorated to complete blindness,” said the 11th patient, a 45 year-old Finland-based male. “I knew there was a chance the implant wouldn’t enable me to see anything, but I was willing to participate in the research with the hope I would regain some sight. When the microchip was turned on, I immediately was able to distinguish light from dark and see outlines of objects. As I got used to the implant, my vision improved dramatically. I was able to form letters into words, even correcting the spelling of my name. I recognized foreign objects such as a banana and could distinguish between a fork, knife and spoon. Most impressively, I could recognize the outlines of people and differentiate heights and arm movements from 20 feet away.”
The implant was removed according to protocol after one or three months, but one study participant was apparently so happy with it that he refused explantation and now has been carrying the implant for four years. The study findings will be presented on May 3th on the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Press release: Subretinal Implant Restores Unprecedented Level of Vision to Blind Patients…
Presentation abstract: Subretinal Visual Prosthetic Devices in Blind Patients. Modifications in Transchoroidal Surgery and Long Term Follow Up in the First 12 Patients