In the May edition of the Report on Progress, “Artificial Sight: Restoration of Sight through Use of Argus II, a Bioelectronic Retinal Implant,” Mark S. Humayun, M.D., Ph.D., discusses restoring sight to blind patients through a retinal implant:
More than 1 million Americans are legally blind and another 10% cannot detect light. With increased mean lifespan, the frequency of age-related eye disease will double in the next 30 years. A significant percentage of the non-treatable blindness stems from loss of photoreceptors (the rods and cones). Once photoreceptors are lost, restoring useful vision to blind patients has been impossible. However, after nearly a century of research into the use of electrical stimulation to restore sight, the Argus II system (Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. Sylmar, CA) was just approved by the FDA as the first medical implant to restore sight to patients who are blind from near total loss of their photoreceptors.
Humayun said that the Argus II is a major milestone in the treatment of vision loss.
May is Healthy Vision Month, established by the National Eye Institute. For more information and resources, check out the National Eye Institute.