Curing vision problems has long been the domain of science fiction, but a recent breakthrough turns fiction into reality. The aptly named Second Sight Medical Products has created the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, a bionic implant designed to restore vision to those suffering from a rare genetic condition known as retinitis pigmentosa. Now individuals suffering from the most advanced stages of this condition have a chance to regain their sight.
What is retinitis pigmentosa? Inside our eyes are millions of photo-receptors, where each individual photo-receptor works in unison to translate the light received by our eyes into information, which the brain then processes to produce an image of the world around us. Without photo-receptors we would be unable to see anything.
In the case of individuals with retinitis pigmentosa, damaged retinal photo-receptors cause the individual to experience reduced visual function in low-light conditions as well as poor peripheral vision. In some extraordinary cases, individuals with retinitis pigmentosa suffer from a complete failure of their central vision.
For this category of retinitis pigmentosa sufferers who have lost full functioning vision, the Argus II provides hope as the first bionic implant on the market.