You might remember the Argus II implant from when it first gained market approval in the US back in 2013. The ambitious prosthesis is back, with researchers now looking to utilize the technology to treat patients with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The effort forms part of a feasibility study, and early results are positive.
The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, built by Second Sight, is designed to stimulate a patient’s remaining retinal cells, allowing them to obtain useful visual information. Images are captured by a small, glasses-mounted camera, converted into electrical pulses, and wirelessly transmitted to electrodes implanted onto the surface of the retina.
Providing the implant works as intended, the patient will perceive patterns of light, which they can learn to interpret, thus regaining some degree of sight. It’s software-based, and will likely provide improved results as testing continues.
Back in 2013, the implant received market approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US, for the treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) – a degenerative condition that affects the peripheries of patient vision. Fast-forward two years and zip across the Atlantic, and the device is now being tested for the first time on a patient suffering from dry AMD . The big difference here is that AMD affects central vision, rather than peripheral sight.