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UK hospital to initiate retinal implant trial

King's College Hospital in UK will initiate clinical trials of retinal implant for people with retinitis pigmentosa starting from March 2011.

The implant, developed by German company Retina Implant, fits under the retina and is designed to treat patients with retinitis pigmentosa, one of the most common forms of inherited blindness.

The device, which consists of 3mm sq array of 1,500 light sensors, works by replacing the light detectors which are destroyed due to the disease.

The first clinical trial of the implant began in Germany and it involved 11 people with retinitis pigmentosa.

In the trial, the implant allowed blind patients to read letters, combine them to form words, and identify objects such as knife, fork and banana.