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  March 19, 2014
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Second Sight Announces First Commercial Implants of Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System in U.S.

By Eye² Staff

Second Sight Medical Products Inc. announced on January 29 that its Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System was implanted in patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) in the U.S. for the first time since it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year.

"We are pleased to have the first implants take place at such a nationally recognized and respected institution. This device is going to positively impact the lives of those suffering from RP by providing renewed visual capabilities, which can help improve daily functioning and activities."

The first commercial implants were performed at the University of Michigan's Kellogg Eye Center by Thiran Jayasundera, MD, FRCSC, and David N. Zacks, MD, PhD. Dr. Stanislao Rizzo, Director of the University Hospital Ophthalmic Department in Pisa, Italy, the surgeon that helped launch the Argus II commercially in Europe, observed the first surgery performed. Ultimate outcomes will not be known for some period of time until the patients go through a period of rehab to train them on using the Argus II. Kellogg Eye Center has been selected by Second Sight as a "Center of Excellence" for its cutting-edge approach to medicine and unparalleled commitment to patient care. It is one of 12 centers nationally that are currently accepting consultations for patients.

"This is a tremendous milestone, not only for Kellogg Eye Center and Second Sight, but also for those affected by RP in the United States," stated Robert Greenberg, MD, PhD, president and CEO of Second Sight. "We are pleased to have the first implants take place at such a nationally recognized and respected institution. This device is going to positively impact the lives of those suffering from RP by providing renewed visual capabilities, which can help improve daily functioning and activities."

The Kellogg Eye Center has already selected other patients to receive the Argus II in the coming weeks, while several other centers of excellence are also preparing for their first implants. Second Sight is actively partnering with additional hospitals throughout the U.S. to make the therapy more readily available.

The Argus II System works by converting video images captured by a miniature camera housed in the patient's glasses into a series of small electrical pulses that are transmitted wirelessly to an array of electrodes on the surface of the retina. These pulses are intended to stimulate the retina's remaining cells resulting in the corresponding perception of patterns of light in the brain. The patient then learns to interpret these visual patterns thereby regaining some visual function.



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