While the word prosthesis usually evokes images of artificial legs, arms, and these days even sophisticated thought-controlled hands
, an entirely new class of replacement body part has now become a reality – the bionic eye. One of the pioneers in this field is California-based Second Sight and the company has now announced that its Argus II System has received U.S. market approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Second Sight’s Argus II Retinal Prosthesis
is definitely an interesting piece of technology, allowing a blind user to “see” objects, colors and movement in their environment. Ordinarily, this is done with the help of a video-camera-equipped pair of glasses worn by the user. In a recent experiment, however, researchers bypassed the camera, transmitting visual braille patterns directly to a blind test subject’s retina.
The Argus II Retinal Implant
from California-based company Second Sight has become the first retinal prosthesis for treatment of the blind approved for sale in Europe. The approval follows a successful clinical trial
that ran for almost four years and saw more than 30 patients around the world using the device at home as they went about their daily lives. While the system isn’t able to restore normal vision, the majority of trial subjects gained the ability to perceive colors, recognize large letters and locate objects, while two were even able to read short sentences.
For those suffering from degenerative eye diseases, abilities which most of us take for granted like following white lines on roads and sorting socks can have a huge impact on quality of life. "Bionic-eye" technologies that can artificially restore sight are creeping closer to reality and now one of the most promising systems to grace our pages - the Argus II Retinal Implant
- is beginning to reap rewards in the real world with positive outcomes reported in the preliminary results of the device's feasibility study and personal stories beginning to emerge of the difference this technology can make to peoples lives.
February 20, 2008 It has to be among the most powerful examples of the miraculous potential of modern science and technology - restoring sight to the blind. Following approval from the US FDA
last year, Second Sight Medical Products Inc has now announced that enrollment is complete for the first phase of clinical trials on a system that restores a basic level of sight to sufferers of retinal eye diseases. Enrollment at key European sites also underway. Ten subjects have been recruited for the Phase I trial of the second-generation electronic retinal implant known as The Argus II, which is capable of restoring rudimentary vision using an external camera and transmitter mounted in eyeglasses linked to a tiny array of 60 electrodes that are attached to the retina.
February 19, 2007 Patients who have gone blind are a step closer to perhaps one day regaining some of their sight with the news that the United States FDA
has approved a study to evaluate an artificial retina. Researchers at the USC Doheny Eye Institute
are developing the technology that hopefully will help patients with retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration regain some vision using an implanted artificial retina. The announcement by Mark Humayun, professor of ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC
and associate director of research at the Doheny Retina Institute, came at a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
in San Francisco.