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Private medical cover holders to benefit from new 'bionic eye' treatment

Published on 24/12/2010
A new treatment that could be of benefit to those with private medical cover is being developed that aims to help blind people regain some of their sight.

The procedure uses a type of 'bionic eye' - a microchip implant that is placed under the retina.

It uses an array of light sensors to send pulsed electrical signals to adjoining nerve cells which then take the message to the brain.

The device has already been tested in Germany by the company that developed it Retina Implant.

It was found that it allowed blind patients with the inherited disorder retinitis pigmentosa to read letters and identify objects such as a knife and fork, an orange and a banana.

Trials are now due to begin in the UK, with King's College Hospital in London and Oxford Eye Hospital carrying out the tests.

Tim Jackson, retinal surgeon at King's, said: "We are delighted to be involved in testing this pioneering technology.

"The results demonstrated by the German team are genuinely impressive, and they represent an important step towards an artificial vision that could greatly enhance the quality of life for people with an incurable, blinding disease. It is unquestionably an extremely exciting development."

One in 3,000 people in the UK suffer from retinitis pigmentosa, which leads to a gradual reduction of vision.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010

Categories:  Medical
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