Implanted chips that return vision to blind patients

Five patients blind from degenerative diseases have partially recovered vision after implantation of a chip that emulates the function of the retina. French company Pixium Vision has successfully performed the implant, which consists of a small camera attached to a glasses capture visual cues and of a chip that is divided into two parts, converts these images into electrical signals that stimulate neurons and create images in the brain, said the radio station “France Info”.

A portion of the chip is installed on the surface of the eyeball while the second, consisting of fifty electrodes placed on the nerve optic. The first patient to undergo this revolutionary operation in France has been a 58 year old woman, who lost his vision two decades ago, and now seven months after the intervention, can recognize objects, shapes, lights and contours. “It’s something exceptional. I saw the device appear a flash and felt a thrill, it was like a miracle, said in a statement issued today by the radio station.

The implant, which is in experimental stage can only be used in those people suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that is the most common cause of inherited retinal degeneration that usually occurs after the age 60.

The device is not suitable for those who are born blind or suffer ailments unrelated to retinal lesions, since it serves to run the memory to recreate visual images from the flashes that the brain receives. If clinical trials are in the right direction-the prototype in which only two other companies working in the world, will begin to be marketed soon.

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