There’s nothing more exciting than news about vision restoration for someone blind from a retinal disease. But a report coming from across the pond is especially compelling, because it’s about the first person with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to receive the Argus II bionic retina.
While more than 100 people with retinitis pigmentosa and related conditions are using the device, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration more than two years ago, expansion to the AMD population is huge. That’s because more than 30 million people have AMD, and there’s only a treatment for the wet form, which affects just 10 percent with the condition. So, there’s a major unmet need, especially for those with advanced dry AMD, which robs people of central vision.
A pioneering, 80-year-old named Ray Flynn is the first AMD patient to receive the Argus II, and he is already reporting that he can see things better in his garden. Keep in mind that the device restores rudimentary vision—the ability to recognize shapes, outlines of people and movement—and Ray is still learning how to use it. However, for someone who is blind, even a little vision restoration greatly impacts quality of life.
The short video below tells a nice story about Ray’s implantation with the Argus II and how this bionic retina works. It also offers perspective from the surgeon, Dr. Paul Stanga, at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital.
Pictured, top: Argus II user Ray Flynn, who has age-related macular degeneration. Photo courtesy of Second Sight.