Retinal implants give patient independence

May 2, 2011 at 10:51 PM
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., May 2 (UPI) -- Sub-retinal implants restored useful visual function and enabled study participants to improve performance in daily activities, a German researcher says.

Dr. Eberhart Zrenner, director and chairman of the Institute for Ophthalmic Research at the Center for Ophthalmology of the University of Tuebingen, Germany, is one of six Retina Implant-related presenters at the Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology annual meeting convening in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Officials at Retina Implant AG, a developer of sub-retinal implants, says preliminary results of the company's second clinical trial involved seven patients who received a permanent sub-retinal implant in one eye with the power supply implanted beneath the skin.

The participating patients achieved statistically significant or highly significant vision performance when identifying geometrical shapes and common table placement items. The benefit of permanent implantation enables them to move more freely when participating in activities of daily living outside a laboratory in real-life settings, the researchers say.

"The results presented today provide continued encouragement in the fight to restore useful vision to retinitis pigmentosa patients," Zrenner says in a statement. "As we continue our research we look forward to providing patients who are currently living in the dark with an opportunity to not only see light and images, but also to be able to provide them with the independence in everyday life."

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