Subretinal microchip implants which help the blind to see improve in second human trial

20 February 2013

Functional vision was restored in the majority of nine German patients implanted with a subretinal microchip as part of a second human clinical trial, Proceedings of the Royal Society B reports.

Researchers at University Eye Hospital in Germany implanted Retina Implant AG’s subretinal wireless microchip and were able to adjust the level of stimulation received to view objects at varied distances. Of the nine patients observed in the study, three patients were able to read letters spontaneously. During three to nine months of observation in and outside the laboratory patients also reported the ability to recognize faces, distinguish objects such as telephones and read signs on doors.

“The results of our first human clinical trial exceeded our expectations, and we are further encouraged by the results from the second human trial,” said Professor Eberhart Zrenner, M.D., lead clinical trial investigator. “As physicians, we are constantly seeking out the best treatment options for our most in-need patients. This research provides additional evidence that our subretinal implant technology can help some patients with retinal degeneration regain functional vision and does so in a way that does not require externally visible equipment.”

“As a leading relevant patient organisation in the UK we have been watching Retina Implant AG’s research with great interest,” said David Head, CEO of RP Fighting Blindness. “The results published today show definite promise to one day restore functional vision to patients with advanced-stage retinitis pigmentosa.”