What Are the Latest Treatments for Retinitis Pigmentosa?

December 15, 2011

Earlier this week, Scientific American published a roundup of exciting new technologies to help restore vision to individuals stricken with retinitis pigmentosa.

The article first discussed technology available from Retina Implant, AG, which recently got approval to extend the yearlong phase II human clinical trial of its retinal implant to additional European locations. It also struck a deal with Wills Eye Institute to undertake a clinical trial of its retinal implant technology in the United States.

The Retina Implant AG technology consists of a tiny microelectronic chip (0.1-millimeter thick), containing about 1,500 light-sensitive photodiodes, amplifiers and electrodes surgically inserted beneath the fovea (which contains the cone cells) in the retina’s macula region. The implanted chip helps generate at least partial vision by stimulating intact nerve cells in the retina. The nervous impulses from these cells are then led via the optic nerve to the visual cortex where they finally lead to impressions of sight.

Another technology discussed was the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System from Second Sight Medical Products, which is already approved for sale in Europe, and is currently undergoing FDA human clinical trials (expected to conclude in July 2014). Second Sight’s technology converts video images captured by a miniature camera—housed in a special pair of glasses worn by the patient—into a series of small electrical pulses transmitted wirelessly to an array of electrodes implanted on the retina’s surface. These pulses are intended to stimulate the retina’s remaining cells and create the perception of patterns of light in the brain.

Click here for the full article discussing these and other new technologies for treating retinitis pigmentosa.




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3 Responses to “What Are the Latest Treatments for Retinitis Pigmentosa?”

  • John Barron

    My brother is in end stage retinitis pigmentosis. He lives alone in a senior assisted living apartment and is now having problems with motion sickness and balance.
    I have ordered a device called “ORCAM” that is basically a reading seeing eye that attaches to the edge of your glasses and reads signs , menus, currencies. The device is very new and in big demand and also in early stages of refinement. It’s made in Israel and the cost is $2500. When you order, you have to pay a 10% deposit or $250. The first group of about 500 who received them are helping to fine tune and add some new programs to the device. I have been on the 2nd group waiting shipment, which has been delayed.
    There have been several news videos you can view at Foundation Fighting Blindness and at the Orcam website. http://www.orcam.com
    You might find this new invention helpful.

  • Bettie Maddrix

    My son, Chad – age 42 and my daughter, Marnie – age 41 both suffer from Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation , subtype 1a (“CDG, 1a). One of the manifestations of this disorder is retinitis pigmentosa. Chad’s eyesight is much worse than Marnie’s at this age. When my son is in a familiar area (room) he does okay, but in unfamiliar areas he is constantly running into things and people. He cries and says he just doesn’t see them. Is there ANYTHING that can be done? Could he be part of a “trial” program–as long as there is no harm. Dr. Chambers here in Dublin, Ohio, is his doctor. Chad loves to read and play sports games on the Wii, but he has to get up so close to the screen. Is there any hope to restore even a part of his vision?? My phone number is 614/718-0708.

  • Gregoire Cosendai

    Actually regarding Second Sight, we have market approval in Europe and several patients have been teated to date.

    Best Wishes,