Bionic Eye for Treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa Approved by FDA
February 18, 2013
Last week, Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. announced that the FDA had approved the Argus® II Retinal Prosthesis System (“Argus II”) to treat individuals with late stage retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
We have blogged about the Argus II prosthesis in the past, which as early as nearly four years ago had shown promise in restoring vision to blind individuals. Previously approved in Europe in 2011, the device will now be available later this year in clinical centers across the United States to treat patients with retinitis pigmentosa.
Argus II is intended to provide electrical stimulation of the retina to induce visual perception in blind individuals with retinitis pigmentosa and has the capacity to offer life-changing visual capabilities to those currently unable to see anything except, at best, extremely bright lights. Briefly, the Argus II System works by converting video images captured by a miniature camera housed in the patient’s glasses into a series of small electrical pulses that are transmitted wirelessly to an array of electrodes on the surface of the retina. These pulses are intended to stimulate the retina’s remaining cells resulting in the corresponding perception of patterns of light in the brain. The patient then learns to interpret these visual patterns thereby regaining some visual function.
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