gms | German Medical Science

Artificial Vision 2019

The International Symposium on Visual Prosthetics

13.12. - 14.12.2019, Aachen


Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The treatment of blindness caused by degenerative or dystrophic retinal diseases remains an unsolved medical but also social problem.

Although significant progress has been made, e.g. with the approval of the first gene therapy for RPE65 associated Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) on one hand or with the fabrication and implantation of retinal implant systems in RP patients on the other hand, there is still a bumpy road ahead.

Several years ago the implantation of retina implant systems sounded as a success story. Totally blind subjects were able to perceive light, to locate and avoid obstacles, some were even able to slowly read large letters and to identify high contrast objects. However, this success was not well recognized in the ophthalmic community and in the patient community. The number of implantations did not meet the expectations and calculations of the companies. As a result, e.g. Retina Implant AG stopped fabricating the Alpha AMS device and Second Sight also stopped their Argus II activities. Clinical results in a larger scale are now expected from trials with the subretinal photovoltaic device of PIXIUM and also from the cortical stimulation device ORION. Other activites are expected from the Australian and from the Japanese consortium and possibly also from other groups.

However, we learned a lot from the experiences with the early implants. Many research projects are still running to better understand the mechanisms of retinal degeneration, how to interfere with these mechanisms, what components of retinal or cortical implants can be improved or optimized to achieve a better outcome.
New projects are planned to solve more general bottlenecks of retinal stimulation using implants.

The Artificial Vision 2019 Conference in Aachen, Germany serves as an interdisciplinary forum bringing together researchers of all disciplines involved in the design, planning, fabricating and testing of visual prostheses as well as scientists from the neurobiological world giving insights in the process of visual system degeneration.
We also welcome the participation of patients in this conference to better understand their needs and expectations.

This conference is a fully open, non-invitational meeting. For young researchers we will have a number of travel grants available. The conference is supported by the German Research Association (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG). Together with my colleagues Wilfried Mokwa (RWTH), Frank Müller and Andreas Offenhäusser (RC Julich) I cordially invite you to come to Aachen.


Peter Walter
Department of Ophthalmology
University Hospital Aachen
RWTH Aachen University, Medical Faculty

Scientific Program