Second Sight’s Argus II Bionic Eye Ranks First on Cleveland Clinic’s Top 10 List

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CLEVELAND— Cleveland Clinic announced its eighth annual list of Top 10 Medical Innovations that will have a major impact on improving patient care within the next year. First on the list this year is the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System by Second Sight. Often referred to as the “early stage bionic eye,” it is the world’s first and only approved device intended to restore some functional vision from people suffering from blindness.

The list of breakthrough devices and therapies was selected by a panel of Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists and announced during Cleveland Clinic’s 2013 Medical Innovation Summit. Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education.

Among the other devices on the Cleveland Clinic’s 2014 List of Top 10 Medical Innovations are genomic-guided tumor diagnostics, a new anesthesia management system and a new bio marker screener for heart disease.

The Argus II device is surgically implanted in and on the eye and is designed to bypass the damaged photoreceptors altogether. Glasses with a built-in camera capture a scene which is processed and transformed before being transmitted wirelessly to the antenna in the implant. This process of transmitting visual information along the optic nerve to the brain creates the perception of patterns of light which patients can learn to interpret as visual patterns.

After two decades of development and testing and more than $200 million in funding, the Food and Drug Administration approved an early-stage bionic eye for severe retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in 2013 that combined a surgically implanted 60-electrode retinal prosthesis, video-camera-enabled glasses, and a video processing unit.