Most people, when they hear the word prosthesis, usually think of an artificial leg, arm, or tooth. Today it is worth expanding your circle of associations with the word “prosthesis”, since now the eye can also be used as a prosthesis. Engaged, and engaged in such prosthetic company Second Sight. She has now announced that Argus II (the same prosthetic eye) has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Argus II prosthesis was the result of ten years of work and investment, more than $ 2 million. Clinical trials in the United States began in 2007. The prosthesis received approval for sale in Europe in 2011.
The system is designed to treat blindness caused by retinitis pigmentosa – a degenerative disease that afflicts approximately 100,000 Americans. The prosthesis consists of tiny video cameras installed in glasses that are connected to a wireless receiver and a microelectrode. The microelectrode is implanted onto the patient's retina. The microelectrode array covers 20 degrees of the visual field, and then stimulates the rest of the cells in the retina with the help of electrical impulses that travel along the optic nerve to the brain. Although such a prosthesis is not able to restore normal vision, patients can learn to interpret these signals and get an increase in visual capabilities, they will be able to perceive colors, recognize large letters and locate objects.
“It is incredibly interesting to have the approval of the FDA, to begin the implantation of Argus II and to return to some extent the sight blinded from retinitis pigmentosa. Patients who already have a prosthesis implanted today have significantly improved their quality of life, ”said Mark Humayun (professor of biomedical engineering, professor of ophthalmology, biomedical engineering, cellular and neuroscience) -“ The fact that many patients can use an Argus implant in their daily activity was beyond our wildest expectations. ”
Argus II implants are expected to be available this year.
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