NR600 retinal prosthesis: Safe with promising visual results

Results for the Phase I study for the NR600 Implant seems to show that this retinal prosthesis is safe for patients that have end-stage retinitis pigmentosa (RP). This study is being conducted in Belgium, Italy and Israel and will involve 18-months of follow up. These patients also seemed to gain some visual capabilities after implantation of the NR600. The NR600 is an implant that does not use any wires. It uses the natural eye optics and retinal signals to help give the patient vision. This prosthesis also involves a set of eyeglasses that give the NR600 implant power and communication using infrared laser. This prosthesis uses electrodes that stimulate any healthy retinal cells in the eye. Two patients with RP who have gotten this prosthesis demonstrated at six-month follow up that they could recognize visual stimuli when the prosthesis was activated. They regained spatial vision, orientation and mobility capabilities.

What this means for Usher syndrome: As vision loss from Usher syndrome is caused by retinitis pigmentosa, this prosthesis could be a potential therapy to help regain some sight. This is still in the early phases and researchers are still establishing safety and efficacy of the prosthesis, but this could be a possible solution to help individuals with RP gain back some sight.

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