First ‘Bionic Eye’ Surgery Helps Patient See the Light

Doctors Performing Eye SurgeryBOSTON (August 11, 2017) – New England Eye Center retina doctors Michelle Liang and Andre Witkin performed the first “bionic eye” implant at Tufts Medical Center in June. The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis system, created by Second Sight, is an implant for the eye that can partially restore vision for patients who are blind from Retinitis Pigmentosa. This is a rare, usually genetic condition that ultimately results in blindness.

The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System (Argus II) is an electrode implant that receives signals from an external video processing unit and is based on what the patient sees through a video camera housed in special glasses. The video is processed and signals are sent wirelessly to the implant to stimulate the retinal cells and transmit visual information to the brain, creating the perception of patterns of light. Over time, users learn how to interpret these visual patterns as objects and shapes.

The FDA has approved the procedure for patients with severe to profound retinitis pigmentosa who meet specific criteria:

  • Adults ages 25 and older
  • Bare or no light perception in both eyes
  • Previous history of useful form vision
  • Aphakic or pseudophakic
  • Able to receive the recommended post-implant clinical follow-up, device fitting and visual rehabilitation.

Chart of an eyePatients who would like more information about this procedure should contact Second Sight at 800-296-6605. Second Sight staff will help to determine whether a patient is a good candidate for the surgery, and then arrange a screening visit with a New England Eye Center retina specialist.

Christine Steeves has been completely blind for four years. Until recently. Watch her amazing story.

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