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 Scientists develop tiny tooth-mounted sensors that can track what you eat
22.03.2018 | Tufts University

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>