Retinal Implant Restores Some Sight to Blind

Researchers Say Implanted Microchip Allows 3 Patients to Recognize Some Shapes

Three blind patients treated with an experimental eye implant were able to see shadows and shapes after getting the device, raising hopes that a highly anticipated new approach to treating blindness may be on the horizon.

Eberhart Zrenner, MD, of Germany's University of Tubingen Eye Hospital, says close to 30 research groups are working on retinal implants designed to restore sight to the blind; Zrenner's study is one of only two that have been tried in humans.

The three patients included in the newly published report had gone blind as a result of hereditary retinal degeneration.

Within days of having a tiny microchip surgically implanted, the two men and one woman could see shadows and were able to recognize some shapes.

One man was able to recognize that his fiance was smiling at him, Zrenner tells WebMD.


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