Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Retinal prosthesis trial completes first phase of testing


One-year results presented at annual ophthalmology meeting

Researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, its Doheny Retina Institute and Second Sight, LLC, are reporting on the initial results of their groundbreaking, FDA-approved feasibility trial of an intraocular retinal prosthesis that appears to be able to restore some degree of sight to the blind.

"We have successfully completed enrollment and implantation of three patients in the trial," says Mark Humayun, M.D., professor of ophthalmology at the Keck School. "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."

The results are being presented at the Retinal Prosthesis I session of the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, or ARVO, being held this week in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Humayun, who is moderator of the session, is also presenting a paper detailing the results of the trial. In addition, he and his group from USC’s Doheny Retina Institute displayed six posters in sessions throughout the week. (Posters are embargoed until the time of their presentation.)

The microelectronic retinal prosthesis used in this first phase of the trial is intended to stand in for the damaged retinal cells in people suffering from such blinding diseases as retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration. The implant measures 4 millimeters by 5 millimeters, and is studded with 16 electrodes in a 4-by-4 array. The device has been developed by Sylmar, Calif.-based Second Sight, LLC:

The first participant in the trial underwent surgery to receive the implant in February of 2002. Patient #2 received the implant in July 2002, and patient #3 underwent surgery in March of 2003.

The retinal prosthesis-a sliver of silicone and platinum that is often incorrectly referred to as an ’eye chip’-is attached to and sits atop the retina. It works by electrically stimulating the remaining healthy retinal cells via the array of electrodes; the retinal cells, in turn, pass on the visual information to the brain via the optic nerve.

Initial tests in the three implanted patients have shown that they can perceive light on each of the 16 electrodes. Testing conducted so far in some of the patients with the microelectronic implant revealed that they were capable of detecting when a light is turned on or off, describing the motion of an object, and even counting discrete objects.

The first tests of the prosthesis in all three patients involved computer-generated points of light sent directly to the implant, says Humayun. Over time, they were ’graduated’ to images received by an external video camera. These images are sent to the intraocular electrode array attached to the retina via a receiver that is implanted behind the patient’s ear during the implant surgery. The signal is then recreated by stimulating the appropriate electrodes in the prosthesis.

Testing on the three patients is ongoing, says Humayun. "We plan in the near future to look at how useful the prosthesis can be in activities of daily living," he notes.

In addition to Humayun, the researchers involved in this work include Keck School researchers Eugene de Juan Jr., M.D., Douglas Yanai, M.D., Manjunatha Mahadevappa, Ph.D., Gretchen van Boemel, Ph.D., Gildo Fujii, M.D., and James Weiland, Ph.D., as well as Robert Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., president of Second Sight, LLC, and other Second Sight scientists.

The National Institutes of Health/National Eye Institute and Second Sight, LLC, provided funding to support the research and development of the retinal prosthesis implanted in this trial. The National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research, the Whitaker Foundation, The Foundation Fighting Blindness, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Second Sight, LLC, have provided other funding toward the development of a retinal prosthesis.

For copies of abstracts online, go to and click on the annual meeting link. Posters relating to this paper were or will be displayed in poster sessions 5056 (B715), 5059 (B718), 5060 (B719), 5079 (B738), 5081 (B740), and 5085 (B744); posters are embargoed until the time of their presentation.

Jon Weiner | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>