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The use of artificial retinas can help those patients who are suffering from eye disease and vision loss

Researchers from the University of Southern California Doheny Eye Institute recently announced that they are one step closer to the next generation of retinal implants after approval for study from the Food and Drug Administration.  During an annual meeting at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco, Mark Humayun, professor of ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and associate director of research at the Doheny Retina Institute, announced the FDA approval of the Investigational Device Exemption, which will allow USC researchers to conduct studies of the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System -- an electronic implant aimed at treating patients suffering from retinis pigemtosa, a heritable eye disease.

The Argus II implant contains 60 electrodes, where as the first generation implant only had 16 electrodes -- the electrodes help allow high-resolution images.  Surgery and recovery times will also be reduced since the Argus II is one quarter of the size of the Argus I.  The implant works because the electrode array is surgically attached to the retina so it can be used with a camera and video processing system.

According to the findings from six previous patients who have had the implants surgically placed during the trial, researchers discovered that the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System does help blind patients detect light and sometimes even "distinguish between objects such as a cup or plate."  The first six subjects also have been able to perceive motion in the environment due to the implants.

The technology is important because the Argus II could be used to help treat millions of people who suffer from age-related macular degeneration, a problem that is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness of Americans who are aged 65 or older.  Testing with the Argus II will involve patients who are 50 years or older and suffer from AMD or RP.

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Blind People
By wolli on 2/19/2007 4:53:45 PM , Rating: 2
It won't take long and blind people will have better vision than the people capable of seeing with organic eyes. They'll have nifty upgrades, like IR, night & so on vision.

RE: Blind People
By idconstruct on 2/19/2007 5:08:24 PM , Rating: 3
x-ray vision? :P

RE: Blind People
By Eric Adams on 2/20/2007 4:57:31 AM , Rating: 3
MANkinds greatest dream since inventing clothes; seeing through it...

RE: Blind People
By smitty3268 on 2/19/2007 6:14:02 PM , Rating: 2
Geordi LaForge

RE: Blind People
By Dactyl on 2/19/2007 6:23:50 PM , Rating: 4
Blind people will never be able to see better than the rest of us.

Once that happens, they're not BLIND anymore.

RE: Blind People
By MrDiSante on 2/19/2007 8:23:45 PM , Rating: 2
Best post yet.

Who cares
By kextyn on 2/20/2007 1:32:49 AM , Rating: 1
Screw these blind people...they're just lucky we don't have natural selection anymore (at least in 1st world countries.)

They should be developing implants to give me night vision, infrared, FLIR, and telescopic zoom! Wouldn't hurt if they could include an imaging device to take digital photos with too. But where am I going to put that USB plug...

RE: Who cares
By Cullinaire on 2/20/2007 1:54:59 AM , Rating: 2
But where am I going to put that USB plug...

I'd volunteer a suggestion, but my Uncle Pete™ told me to keep it Family Friendly™.

age-related macular degeneration
By Senju on 2/19/2007 11:02:19 PM , Rating: 2
Does anyone know if playing video games would help in not getting age-related macular degeneration? I don't want to go blind when I turn 65 so maybe playing video games can keep my eye active.

By Lego on 2/20/2007 12:41:17 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see the point in implanting some artificial retina until the quality of signal from that retina reaches that of the natural healthy retina.
There are at least two medications (retinalamin and encadum) which provide the supportive treatment thus preventing blindness. I think this is a better way (for now) to deal with retinitis pigmentosa for people who are not blind yet.

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