Pathophysiology of Vision
Major achievements were the completion of the first part of the electronic subretinal implant study (Zrenner et al. Proc. R. Soc. 2011) which established the benefit of a 1500 photodiode subretinal array for blind patients in daily life, being able to localize objects, recognize facial expressions and in some cases even read words. The approval by the ethic committee now has led to the start of a multicenter international trial with first patients already receiving subretinal implants in Hongkong, London and Oxford. For the Treatrush study 90 patients with Usher syndrome that affects hearing and vision were investigated and first conclusions were drawn concerning differentiation of various forms and disease progress (Sliesoraityte, Zobor, Kurtenbach). For this purpose multidimensional imaging for the assessment of visual function was developed (Hipp, Kurtenbach, Sliesoraityte, Stingl, Tröger).
This was accompanied by development of novel methods for highly sensitive ERG recording (Schatz, Strasser) and novel electrodes with superabsorbing polymers (Strasser, Peters, Akl), in conjunction with applying new methods of signal analysis (artificial neuronal networks) to increase quality and outcome of electrophysiological recordings of vision. Special attention was also paid to adaptive mechanisms visual function (Werner) and related sensory and cognitive mechanisms.
Progress has also been made in early detection of changes in retinal function in diabetic patients and glaucoma (Kurtenbach, Langrova). A new treatment approach by means of electrostimulation for the release of presumed endogenous retinal growth factors in patients with hereditary retinal degeneration showed first success (Schatz, Gekeler, Zrenner).