King’s College Hospital in the UK has reported that it will initiate clinical trials of a retinal implant for people with retinitis pigmentosa, one of the most common forms of inherited blindness, from March 2011.
The implant, developed by German company Retina Implant, fits under the retina.
The device, which consists of 3mm² array of 1,500 light sensors, works by replacing the light detectors that are destroyed by the disease.
The first clinical trial of the implant began in Germany, involving 11 people with retinitis pigmentosa.
In the trial, the implant allowed blind patients to read letters, combine them to form words, and identify common objects.