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Ophthalmologists Use Artificial Silicon Retina Microchip To Treat Vision Loss

modified to reduce the likelihood of inadvertant scientific bias. "We operated on the right eye of each of the initial 10 patients. For the next 20 patients we will randomly select which eye will receive the ASR chip. In addition, post-operative vision testers will be masked as to which eye received the ASR chip implant. The current study is being performed at these study centers in order to independently validate previous studies performed by Optobionics."

The first 10 patients all reported some degree of improvement in visual function, says Pollack. "Improvement in visual function was variable and included the ability to read letters, improvement in color vision, and expansion of their visual field. Some patients gained new ability to recognize facial features -- something that they were unable to do before ASR chip implantation. Some patients have experienced improvement in activities of daily living such as improved ambulation-not bumping into objects around the house, and reading the time on a clock."

Still in Phase II clinical trials, Pollack cautions it is still too early to determine what percentage of patients might experience improvement in vision and what resolution capability these patients might eventually have. "Although we hope that all patients receiving the chip will experience some improvement in visual function, we can't say for sure how these patients will respond to this new treatment since this is still an experimental trial. If this study and future studies show safety and efficacy of the chip and it's approved by the FDA, it could be as soon as three to five years that this technology would be available to others."

Surgical Information
The ASR chip contains approximately 5,000 microscopic solar cells that convert light into electrical impulses. The purpose of the chip is to replace damaged photoreceptors, the "light-sensing" cells of the eye, which normally convert light into electrical signals within the retina.
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Source:Rush University Medical Center


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