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Artificial Retina Restores Some Sight to the Blind

After 20 years of research, Mark Humayun gains FDA approval for his artificial retina.
By: Megan Hazle
March 18, 2013 —

Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. recently gained FDA approval for Argus II, an artificial retina. Mark Humayun, a faculty member of both USC Viterbi and the USC Keck School of Medicine, researched and developed the device which uses a wireless receiver implanted in the eye to restore some sight to patients who have lost vision due to retinitis pigmentosa.

This breakthrough device and its implications for future innovations to restore sight to the blind was covered extensively by media outlets. Below is a sampling of the media stories that covered this research. Click on the logos to read them.

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the first treatment to give limited vision to people who are blind, involving a technology called the artificial retina.
Reuters-Logo The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first artificial retina, an implanted device that replicates some of the function of the retina, helping to restore vision to people blinded with a rare genetic disorder, the agency said Thursday.
AFP  After more than 20 years of research and development, Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., the leading developer of retinal prostheses for the blind, is pleased to announce that its Argus® II Retinal Prosthesis System (“Argus II”) has received U.S. market approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat individuals with late stage Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP).
  Regulators have approved a bionic eye for the first time in the U.S., saying Second Sight Medical Products Inc.'s retinal prosthesis can be used to treat a certain kind of blindness.
 Financial-Times-Logo Millions of blind people will be able to regain limited sight after the world's first “bionic eye” was approved by US regulators.
 Time Logo The Food and Drug Administration has approved a “bionic eye” that allows blind people to see again – at least to an extent. 
  On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration approved a device that does indeed use a video camera attached to a pair of Oakley-esque glasses that communicate with electrodes implanted in the retina.
 National Science Foundation The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted market approval to an artificial retina technology today, the first bionic eye to be approved for patients in the United States. The prosthetic technology was developed in part with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
 Smart Planet Logo Yesterday, the big news was that the Food and Drug Administration has just approved the availability of this technology known as the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System.
MIT-Technology-Review-logo  A prosthetic device that can restore some sight to the blind has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Slate-logo  Second Sight has received Food and Drug Administration approval for the Argus II, a device that lets blind people see. It doesn't fully restore their vision by any means, but it combines a high-quality video camera, digital processing equipment, and an implant capable of stimulating the optic nerves of even severely damaged patients.  
Live Science.com Logo  The first bionic eye approved for patients may fall far short of science fiction fantasies, but it can restore some vision to those who are completely blind.
 WJLA-Logo Patients who have lost their sight due to a rare disorder may be able to regain some vision using a new implantable device that takes the place of damaged cells inside the eye.
Nature Logo  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Thursday approved the first retinal implant for use in the United States. 
Gizmag-gizmag  While the word prosthesis usually evokes images of artificial legs, arms, and these days even sophisticated thought-controlled hands, an entirely new class of replacement body part has now become a reality – the bionic eye.