"Bionic eye" available for blind
A new product now available at the University Hospitals Eye Institute in Cleveland allows doctors an implant a special chip into the retinas of blind people that can help restore sight. The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System is the first product of its kind used to treat patients with late stage retinitis pigmentosa, a rare inherited, degenerative eye disease that can result in loss of vision. It can offer a huge benefit to patients of the eye condition, which causes victims to have very little to no ability to detect light.
The Argus II works by capturing images with a miniature camera located on the patient's glasses. The system then converts these images into small electrical pulses that are wirelessly transmitted to electrodes on the surface of the retina. These pulses stimulate the retina's remaining cells resulting in the perception of light in the brain, which can be interpreted by the patients. The system helps the patients regain some visual function.
The Argus II system will eventually be available in 12 major markets in the U.S. Approved by the FDA earlier in 2013, the system is the product of 20 years of research, three clinical trials, $100 million in public investment and an additional $100 million in private investment.