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First Patient Successfully Implanted with Wireless Retinal Device

A ground-breaking wireless retinal device has the potential to be a gamechanger in treating macular degeneration

Known as the Prima system (Pixium Vision), the device was successfully implanted on an American patient as part of a clinical trial. It is designed to restore partial sight to those who experience advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 

“This is an incredibly exciting first for us at UPMC, and I’m honored to be a part of it,” implanting surgeon at the UPMC Eye Center Joseph Martel, MD, said via press release. 

The process involved placing a 2 mm x 2 mm, 30 µm thick chip under the retina. The chip itself was miniaturized, wireless, and photovoltaic.

Once placed under the retina, it works alongside augmented reality glasses that come equipped with a built-in camera and infrared projector. 

The chip itself operates as an artificial retina. Patients, after implantation, undergo rehabilitation so that their brains are better able to interpret signals from the implant, while working together with their natural vision. 

Currently, the first-in-human trial of the Prima system is ongoing. 

So far, five patients have been followed for more than one year. Twelve-month results showed that most patients identified letter sequences, and had no reports of adverse effects related to the device. 

As the principal investigator of the feasibility trial conducted at UPMC, Martel expressed his utmost thanks to all those involved. 

“I’m grateful to our patients who have volunteered to participate in this trial, without whom this would not be possible.”

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