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December 4, 2014

Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System

Devices that tap directly into the nervous system--called brain-machine interfaces, or BMIs--can restore sensation, movement or cognitive function. The Argus IIĀ® Retinal Prosthesis System works by bypassing damaged photoreceptors, cells in the retina that normally convert light into electrical signals that the brain interprets as visual information, then transmitting images from a small camera to an implant in the back of the eye. Like the photoreceptors, the implant produces electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain.

In 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Argus II for use in individuals who have lost their vision as a result of severe to profound retinitis pigmentosa. A genetic condition affecting one in every 4,000 individuals, early symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa often include night blindness followed by gradual but progressive loss of peripheral vision and ultimately total blindness.

Development of Argus II was supported in part by grants from the National Science Foundation (grants CBET 03-35836, CBET 98-10914, ECCS 03-00181). To learn more, see the NSF Discovery story How to build a brain-machine interface. Also, see NSF press release Artificial Retina Receives FDA Approval. (Date of Image: 2013)

Credit: Second Sight Medical Products

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