A young doctor proposed a new medical device 20 years ago and founded Second Sight Medical Products in order to produce the technology necessary to create the advanced eye implant. The implant, Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, is now approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in patients with a rare eye disorder that causes them to slowly become blind, retinitis pigmentosa. The device is a substitute for damaged retinal cells that deteriorate, and will allow the patient to regain some ability to see shapes, differences in color, and be able to perform otherwise difficult activities. The technology involves a video camera that is attached to a pair of glasses on the patient and transmits electronic data to electrodes implanted in the retina. Although the device will be used on a limited basis for patients meeting specific criteria, the company hopes to be able to treat a number of other eye disorders in the future with their technology.
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