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FDA to approve the first bionic eye in the US

Written By Sansation on Monday, 25 February 2013 | 05:41

Argus II bionic eyes
Following approximately twenty-over years worth of research, development and trials, and an EU-approval in 2011, Second Sight Medical Products was granted US approval from the FDA for the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System.

The Argus II is the 1st bionic eye implant to treat advanced Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that usually results in nearly complete blindness. The bionic eye includes a tiny camera, a transmitter which is mounted on a pair of glasses, a Video Processing Unit (VPU) and a retinal prosthesis (artificial retina). The Argus II bionic eye is able to effectively replace the degenerated cells in the patient's retina and lets the patient see shapes and movement. Images captured by the camera are transformed into data that is then transmitted wireless to the retinal prosthesis. However, the vision you get from the Argus II bionic eyes is certainly not comparable with regular sight.

The Argus II has 60 electrodes implanted in the retina and the company (among many others) is working towards an Argus III with higher resolution. It is widely expoected that bionic eyes with resolutions of more then 1000 electrodes will be commercially available in 2018 or 1019 while a few years later the resolution will be so much increased that even people with "normal" sight will start considering bionic eyes as an option to enhance their vision.
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