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Published On: Wed, Nov 3rd, 2010

Subretinal implant helps restore partial vision

For the first time, scientists have restored the ability of previously blind patients to recognize letters, fruit and other items using light-sensitive microchips implanted in the inner surface of the eye.

One patient was able to read the hands of a clock, discern seven shades of gray, find and identify tableware and combine the letters of the alphabet to form words.

The microchip is only approximately 3 millimeters by 3 millimeters in size, but is loaded with 1,500 light detectors that send a grid of electrical impulses through a patient’s nerves to generate a 1,500-pixel image. The device is implanted under the retina, the inner lining of the eye unlike other implants that sit outside the retina and require users to wear an external camera. Since the chip requires a sharp image, the patients wear reading glasses. [Image of implant in eye]

Read the Retinal Implant Press release here.

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