Blind patient 'reads braille patterns stimulated onto retina'

22 November

A blind patient was able to read braille patterns stimulated directly onto his retina, in a scientific breakthrough that could bring hope to many people with optical conditions.

The patient was able to read four letter words accurately and quickly using an ocular neuroprosthetic device called the Argus II.

This device has already been implanted in more than 50 individuals, many of whom are now able to see colour, movement and objects, according to research published in the journal Frontiers.

It uses a small camera mounted on a pair of glasses, a portable processor to translate the signal from the camera into electrical stimulation, and a microchip with electrodes which are implanted directly on the retina.

Lead author Thomas Lauritzen said: "In this clinical test with a single blind patient, we bypassed the camera that is the usual input for the implant and directly stimulated the retina.

"Instead of feeling the braille on the tips of his fingers, the patient could see the patterns we projected and then read individual letters in less than a second with up to 89% accuracy."

Posted by Jeanette Royston
 

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