London: Blind people were able to read signs, tell the time and distinguish white wine from red after surgeons fitted them with retinal implants to partially restore their vision.Five of the first eight patients enrolled in a clinical trial of the retinal implants found the electronic chips improved their eyesight enough to be useful in everyday life, the Guardian reported.All those involved - men and women aged 35 to 62 - had lost their sight to retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary disease that destroys the light-sensitive cells in the eye, the researchers wrote W in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.The chip stands in for the defunct cells by detecting light rays and converting them into electrical pulses, which are sent along the optic nerve to the brain.Each patient spent up to 10 hours in surgery to have the 3mm by 3mm chip implanted in one eye. The chip is studded with 1,500 light-sensitive elements that pick up light falling on the macula, the most light-sensitive part of the retina.
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