Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., located in Los Angeles, CA, was founded in 1998 by Alfred Mann to develop a retinal prosthesis to provide sight to patients blinded from outer retinal degenerations, such as Retinitis Pigmentosa.
Second Sight’s Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System is intended to provide electrical stimulation of the retina to induce visual perception in blind individuals. The implant is an epiretinal prosthesis surgically implanted in and on the eye that includes an antenna, an electronics case, and an electrode array. The external equipment includes glasses, a video processing unit (VPU) and a cable.
The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System bypasses the damaged photoreceptors altogether. A miniature video camera housed in the patient’s glasses captures a scene. The video is sent to a small patient-worn computer (i.e., the video processing unit – VPU) where it is processed and transformed into instructions that are sent back to the glasses via a cable. These instructions are transmitted wirelessly to an antenna in the implant. The signals are then sent to the electrode array as pulses which bypass the damaged photoreceptors and stimulate the retina’s remaining cells, which transmit the visual information along the optic nerve to the brain, creating the perception of patterns of light. Patients learn to interpret these visual patterns.
In Mach 2, 2011, Second Sight announced that it had received the CE Mark for the Argus II retinal prosthesis.
Company website: www.2-sight.eu
Click here for Second Sight’s patents.