Chip to help blind see due in two years

Published: February 28, 2007 | 5642nd good news item since 2003

A miracle implant that restores partial sight to the blind could be available in just two years.

Trials are soon to begin on the latest version of the Argus Retinal Prosthesis System which allows patients to distinguish different shapes and detect movement.

Tests of an earlier, less sophisticated, prototype surprised and delighted scientists by surpassing all expectations.

Patients who were expected to see no more than differences between light and dark could discern shapes of everyday objects, and tell when a person was walking past them. The new smaller implant, which is more powerful, is likely to achieve better results.

The £15,000 Argus system, developed at the University of Southern California’s Doheny Eye Institute

has been shown to restore a meaningful level of sight to completely blind individuals with degenerative diseases that destroy the retina.

Professor Mark Humayun, who heads the USC team, said if the new trial was a success the implant could soon be on the market.

Published in Science & Technology
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