A bionic eye device system that can slightly improve the vision of people affected from a rare kind of retinal disease has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The device, known as Argus II system, makes use of an array of electrodes that are implanted in the retina of the user. The electrodes are connected to a video camera and a transmitte,r mounted on an eye glass, and which receives and converts light into electric signals that are then sent to the electrodes.
While the device does not restore vision completely, it allows patients of a genetic condition, known as retinitis pigmentosa, to see large letters, differentiate between light and dark and even locate people and detect movement in their field of vision.
The device has been developed by California based Second Sight Medical Products after two decades of research that was funded by National Eye Institute. One of the users of the device, Elias Konstantopolous, 74, said that while it did not provide complete vision, it did improve the eyesight of those, who were for all purposes, blind.
"Without the system, I wouldn't be able to see anything at all, and if you were in front of me and you moved left and right, I'm not going to realize any of this. When you have nothing, this is something. It's a lot", Konstantopolous said.