Cornelia R.

How did the disease progress in your case?

Already in early childhood I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa. At eleven I knew that someday I would become blind. Due to the visual impairment I was forced to repeat one year in school because I had problems recognising the words on the blackboard. After the eighth grade I was forced to drop out of school. I was working in the neighbouring village as a cleaning specialist. This was very difficult, but I’ve never given up. I raised my daughter and looked after my grandson when I was already severely visually impaired. A few years later complete blindness set in and sadly I had to give up my work. I have not seen my daughter and my grandchildren in over ten years.

Why did you choose the retinal implant?

For me this was not a question. When I heard about the possibility of the implant on TV I thought to myself: You have to do this! I’ve got nothing to lose. I can only win. From there everything went very quick. Within only a few weeks I had an appointment at a specialist in Berlin, then, two months later I went to Tübingen, and in late summer I had the implantation.

How did the implantation go and the time afterwards?

The nurses and doctors looked after me very well. I did not feel anything of the surgery because of the general anaesthesia. The next morning I was already up at six. I was just hungry and thirsty but I felt splendid. I was walking around as if nothing ever happened.

What did the implant do for you?

It gave me hope. For years I had to listen to people saying: ‘There isn’t anything. There isn’t anything. There is no hope for you.’ Then I learned about the implant. When the device was initially switched on and I had the first visual impressions – like a neon light in the dark – I was happy like a child!

I could follow the television when something was moving on screen and localise windows. Today I am using the implant almost daily, when I am washing the windows, for example, or when doing the laundry, to train with the system.

In how far can you recommend the retina implant?

I follow the motto: never give up. Always move forward. Even small steps will lead to the goal. I know that it will get better. Even if it was small steps with the implant, I can recommend using it. I noticed it myself that it can help me in my daily life. It is important for me that such an implant exists. I would have never expected something like this.