Age-related macular degeneration patient receives bionic eye transplant
You might remember the Argus II implantfrom when it first gained market approval in the US back in 2013. Theambitious prosthesis is back, with researchers now looking to utilizethe technology to treat patients with dry age-related maculardegeneration (AMD). The effort forms part of a feasibility study, andearly results are positive.
The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, built by SecondSight, is designed to stimulate a patient's remaining retinal cells,allowing them to obtain useful visual information. Images arecaptured by a small, glasses-mounted camera, converted intoelectrical pulses, and wirelessly transmitted to electrodes implantedonto the surface of the retina.
Providing the implant works asintended, the patient will perceive patterns of light, which theycan learn to interpret, thus regaining some degree of sight. It'ssoftware-based, and will likely provide improved results as testingcontinues.
Back in 2013, the implant receivedmarket approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in theUS, for the treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) – a degenerativecondition that affects the peripheries of patient vision. Fast-forward two years and zip across the Atlantic, and the device is nowbeing tested for the first time on a patient suffering from dryAMD . The big difference here is that AMD affects central vision,rather than peripheral sight.
The procedure was carried out at theManchester Royal Eye Hospital in the United Kingdom, by Dr. PauloStrange MD. The device was activated two weeks after being implanted,with early tests indicating that the 80-year-old subject, RaymondFlynn, was already receiving useful vision from the system.
Though this is only the first testusing the implant for AMD sufferers, those initial positive resultsare extremely promising. In the long run, it could provide a newcourse of action for the estimated two million people who are legallyblind due to AMD, for which there are few approved treatments.
"We are very excited to begin such animportant study for this patient population and to have theopportunity to help a great deal more people living with blindness,"says Second Sight's Executive Officer, Dr. Robert Greenberg. "Thoughit is obviously still early in this clinical trial, we are veryencouraged by these initial results."
Mr. Flynn is the first of five patientswho fill form the initial feasibility study, wherein the safety andeffectiveness of the system for AMD sufferers will be evaluated. Ifthe positive results continue, a larger study will take place, withthe eventual goal of market approval for AMD treatment.
For more on the use of the Argus IISystem on dry AMD sufferers, you can take a look at the video below.
Source: Second Sight