Dr. Timo Lebold

TimoLeboldRetina Implant AG

Dr. Timo Lebold is a research and development engineer at Retina Implant AG, Germany, working on the creation of an active subretinal implant for the restoration of vision in patients suffering from hereditary degenerative retinal disorders. He received his doctorate (Dr. rer. nat.) from Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich in 2010, and holds a diploma degree in chemistry from Philipps-University Marburg. He spent part of his studies at Cambridge University and is a member of the Elite-Network Bavaria. His current work at Retina Implant focusses on long term stability of the implant, hermeticity and packaging issues as well as corrosion and migration control utilizing micro systems technology and material scientific approaches.

Restoring Vision with Subretinal Implants

To date, ophthalmogists are unable to help patients that have become blind as a result of degenerative retinal diseases. There are hardly any therapeutic drugs available and there is no way to stop the degeneration or heal the degenerated photoreceptors. However, in recent years several approaches have been developed to restore visual functions in blind retinitis pigmentosa patients using electronic electrode arrays coupled to the retina. Retina Implant is the first company worldwide that manufactures an active subretinal implant for the restoration of vision in patients with degenerative retinal diseases. Retina Implant’s approach, which was developed at Tübingen University Eye Hospital by Prof. Eberhart Zrenner, will be explained: a light sensitive microchip with 1500 photodiodes, amplifiers and electrodes was implanted subretinally in previously blind patients. The presentation reviews the visual results that could be achieved with the implant. Individual patients were able to identify objects in and outdoors and even read individual letters of a large newspaper heading size and subsequently combine them to words. The technology has great potential to further alleviate blindness in individuals suffering from hereditary retinal degeneration.