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Stimulation with a wireless intraocular epiretinal implant elicits visual percepts in blind humans

Results from stimulation tests during the EPIRET3 prospective clinical trial
: Klauke, S.; Görtz, M.; Rein, S.; Hoehl, D.; Thomas, U.; Eckhorn, R.; Bremmer, F.; Wachtler, T.


Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 52 (2011), No.1, pp.449-455
ISSN: 0146-0404
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IMS ()
Stimulation; Neuroprothese; Augenimplantat; clinical trial; visual prosthesis; retinal implant; EPIRET; wireless

Purpose. Electrical stimulation of retinal neurons has been shown to be a feasible way to elicit visual percepts in patients blind from retinal degenerations. The EPIRET3 retinal implant is the first completely wireless intraocular implant for epiretinal stimulation. Stimulation tests have been performed during a clinical trial which was carried out at the eye clinics of Aachen and Essen in order to evaluate the safety and the efficacy of the implant.
Methods. Six legally blind retinitis pigmentosa patients were included in the study. In accordance with the regulations laid down in the study protocol, 3 one hour perceptual tests for each subject were performed within 4 weeks after surgery. Stimuli were charge-balanced square current pulses of various durations and current amplitudes.
Results. All subjects reported visual percepts as a result of electrical stimulation by the implant. Thresholds for eliciting visual percepts varied between individuals but were below the safety limits of electrical stimulation. Stimulation success depended stronger on pulse duration than on current amplitude or total charge delivered. Subjects were able to discriminate between stimulation patterns of different orientations or at different locations of the electrode array.
Conclusions. The EPIRET3 system is suitable to elicit visual percepts in blind retinitis pigmentosa patients.