Woman With Retinitis Pigmentosa Obtains Rudimentary Vision With Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System From Second Sight
March 22, 2009
Today, the Columbus Dispatch told the story of a California woman, Kathy Blake, with retinitis pigmentosa who has gained vision with the same device. Among other things, she can sort dark and white laundry on her carpet. Other patients implanted with the device have been able to read 1-foot-tall letters on a wall, navigate an unfamiliar room, follow a line on a floor, and recognize objects in a place-setting on a table.
The Columbus Dispatch article provides a nice summary of how the Argus II works:
The Argus II system has 60 electrodes, which provide more detail, and works like this:
A tiny video camera mounted in a pair of glasses takes pictures of what’s in front of a patient and transmits each image to a processor worn on the hip.
The processor turns the image into a pattern of electronic impulses that are sent to an antenna on the side of the glasses. The impulses are directed to a receiver implanted on the side of the eye. The receiver relays these impulses to the electrodes in the retina.
The impulses travel along the retinal neurons through the optic nerve and to the brain. The patient sees flashes of light, which the brain uses to make the equivalent of low-resolution images.
An illustration of the above process is also provided.
The Argus II has 16 electrodes, while Argus III is expected to have 200, and Argus IV, more than 1,000. The hope is that additional electrodes will allow patients to recognize faces and read text of a fairly reasonable size.
Read the full article.
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