In 2013, the FDA approved a new device for “people living with blindness due to severe to profound retinitis pigmentosa”. It is called The “Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System (“Argus II”)” and is basically a “bionic eye”. According to secondsight.com, Argus II “is the world’s first approved device intended to restore some functional vision for people suffering from blindness. Authorized by Federal (U.S.) law to provide electrical stimulation of the retina to induce visual perception in blind patients with severe to profound retinitis pigmentosa and bare light or no light perception in both eyes.”
Amcon Sales Representative Lisa has a friend who’s father will be one of just 40 people worldwide to receive this surgery. Bob gradually lost his sight as a young adult. The implant will not give him full sight, but it anticipated that he would be able to see shapes (i.e. doorways, his plate on a table & a person standing directly in-front of him).
So, how does this bionic eye work? In healthy eyes, photoreceptors (rods and cones) of the retina send impulses to the brain and the brain “decodes” them into images. When these photoreceptors aren’t functioning, this process cannot take place, leaving the individual blind. Argus II bypasses the photoreceptors by using a mini video-camera mounted into a pair of eyeglasses. The information is sent to an antenna in the implant, which produces the impulse and sends the information to the brain. (Source: http://www.secondsight.com/how-is-argus-r-ii-designed-to-produce-sight-en.html)
This is the “most clinical experience of any retinal prosthesis ever developed”. It is hoped that this device can eventually help hundreds, or thousands of people across the globe.
To read more about this groundbreaking device, check out http://www.secondsight.com/argus-ii-rps-pr-en.html
If you would like to donate to the GoFundMe page for Bob’s surgical expenses, visit https://www.gofundme.com/2qvwa2k.