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Foundation News » Retinitis Pigmentosa
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New Model of Artificial Retina Moves into Human Studies

Monday, 28 April 2008

For people with the most advanced retinal degenerative disease - those who are blind or have only light perception - artificial retinas are providing promise for restored vision.

Second Sight® Medical Products is now conducting a Phase II human study of its second-generation artificial retina - the Argus II - in clinical centers in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe (England, France, and Switzerland).

diagram of retinal degenerative disease

The Foundation Fighting Blindness funded preclinical studies of this artificial retina technology. Further development of the Argus II, into a device suitable for human use, is the result of a unique collaborative effort between Second Sight, the National Eye Institute, the Department of Energy, and several academic institutions.

Also known as a retinal prosthesis, the Argus II consisting of an array of 60 electrodes is attached with a tiny tack - the width of a human hair - to the patient's retina. A tiny video camera mounted on a pair of glasses captures images and sends them wirelessly to the array of electrodes. The electrodes then provide electrical current to stimulate the retina, which produces visual images that are perceived by the individual.

In studies of the first-generation Argus device - a prosthesis with 16 electrodes - participants were able to see movement, lights and shapes. Researchers hope that the increased number of electrodes on the newer device will translate into more detailed vision for study participants.

Linda Moorfoot, a woman who received the first Argus prosthesis, spoke at the Foundation's 2007 VISIONS Conference in Kansas City. "I can watch kids' hockey and soccer games and tell which direction the game is going. I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and saw the city lights. It was pretty amazing," she said.

Second Sight continues to recruit for this trial. Visit the clinical trials section of the Foundation's Web site for information on participating in the clinical trial of the Argus II. (You need to be registered to view this information.)

To view archived articles, please register or login. Registered users have greater access to FFB publications including all archives, clinical trial information and the option to receive notifications through email.

The work described in this article was made possible through generous gifts from people like you. Please click here to make a donation to The Foundation.

DISCLAIMER: Physicians differ in their approach to incorporating research results into their clinical practice. You should always consult with and be guided by your Physician's advice when considering treatment based on research results.


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