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.
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System as the first treatment for an inherited disorder that causes the breakdown of cells in the retina, a membrane inside the eye.
The technology will initially only be available to a small number of patients, but could eventually be used to treat vision disorders that affect millions of people. The device was previously approved in Europe in late 2011.
The system includes a small video camera and transmitter mounted on a pair of glasses. Images from the camera are processed into electronic data that is wirelessly transmitted to electrodes implanted into the patient’s retina.