LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Second Sight Medical Products, a leading developer of implantable visual prosthetics, announced that it has received notice from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the release of year three funding for its Early Feasibility Clinical Trial of a Visual Cortical Prosthesis (the Orion Trial), grant UH3NS103442. The NIH released $1.4 million of the $6.4 million planned five-year grant. Second Sight uses the funds primarily to pay UCLA and Baylor College of Medicine to conduct the Orion Trial.

This NIH notice of grant award follows the reporting by the company of promising two-year data from the Orion Trial on May 12, 2021. The funding supports continuation of this important research and testing of the Orion Visual Cortical Prosthesis. Orion is an implanted cortical stimulation device intended to provide useful artificial vision to individuals who are blind due to a wide range of causes, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, optic nerve injury or disease, and eye injury.
Orion is intended to convert images captured by a miniature video camera mounted on glasses into a series of small electrical pulses. The device is designed to bypass diseased or injured eye anatomy and to transmit these electrical pulses wirelessly to an array of electrodes implanted on the surface of the brain’s visual cortex, where it is intended to provide the perception of patterns of light.
A six-subject early feasibility study of the Orion is currently underway at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles and the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. No peer-reviewed data is available yet for the Orion system, according to Second Sight.