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Retinal Device Restores Sight to Blind Mice
Date:8/13/2012

ext one to two years."

Results achieved in animal studies don't necessarily translate to humans.

Dr. Alfred Sommer, a professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and dean emeritus of Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, urged caution about the findings.

"This could be revolutionary," he said. "But I doubt it. It's a very, very complicated business. And people have been working on it intensively and incrementally for the last 30 years."

"The fact that they have done something that sounds a little bit better than the last set of results is great," Sommer added. "It's terrific. But this approach is really in its infancy. And I guarantee that it will be a long time before they get to the point where they can really restore vision to people using prosthetics."

Other advances may offer benefits in the meantime, he said. "We now have new therapies that we didn't have even five years ago," Sommer said. "So we may be reaching a state where the amount of people losing their sight will decline even as these new techniques for providing artificial vision improve. It may not be as sci-fi. But I think it's infinitely more important at this stage."

More information

For more on retinal degeneration, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

SOURCES: Sheila Nirenberg, Ph.D., professor and computational neuroscientist, department of physiology and biophysics, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York City; Alfred Sommer, M.D., professor, ophthalmology, and dean emeritus, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Aug. 14, 2012, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


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