-New Eye Implants Looking Good 2003-05-10Posted by clype in Gizmo, Health.
Researchers say an eye implant designed to restore sight to the blind, is showing encouraging results in its first patient trial.
Early findings one year into the trial show the artificial retina can enable a blind person to distinguish between everyday objects such as a cup or plate.
Three patients have been given the device, known as an intra-ocular retinal prosthesis.
The implant, a sliver of silicone and platinum, measures four by five millimetres and is studded with 16 electrodes.
It works by electrically stimulating a patient's remaining healthy retinal cells, which in turn pass visual information to the brain.
Results from the first phase of the trial were presented at a meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in Ford Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.A. Professor Mr.Mark Humayun, from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, said:
'We have successfully completed enrolment and implantation of three patients in the trial, and we have found that the devices are indeed electrically conducting, and can be used by the patients to detect light or even to distinguish between objects such as a cup or plate in forced choice tests conducted with one patient so far'.
Physicians operated on the first trial participant in 2002-02.
Patient #2 received an implant in 2002-07, and patient #3 underwent surgery in 2003-03.
Initial tests have shown that the patients can perceive light on each of the implant's 16 electrodes.
Patients were able to detect when light was turned on or off, describe the motion of an object, and even count separated objects.
Main Web sites:
- http://www.arvo.org/ http://www.blindness.org/
- http://www.emedicine.com/oph/topic763.htm http://www.visualprosthesis.com/retinal.htm