Progress in the development of vision prostheses

Ophthalmologica. 2011;225(4):187-92. doi: 10.1159/000318042. Epub 2011 Feb 3.


Degenerative retinal diseases like retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration are among the most common causes of blindness worldwide. Electronic visual prostheses represent a potential therapeutic option of increasing importance in otherwise incurably impaired patients. Based on extensive animal experiments, several devices are now being tested in clinical trials. According to the placement of the electrodes, possible stimulation sites are located subretinally, epiretinally, along the optic nerve or cortically. Anatomical, physiological and pathophysiological aspects must be considered in development and clinical application. To provide an appropriate retinal substitute, the optimal integration and adaptation of the prosthesis into the highly complex system of the visual pathway is important. This article aims to summarize the relevant studies and provides an overview of the current status of developments and challenges that still need to be mastered.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blindness / etiology
  • Blindness / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Retinal Diseases* / complications
  • Retinal Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Retinal Diseases* / therapy
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*
  • Visual Prosthesis / trends*