A 68-year-old man in Minnesota, Allen Zderad, who has retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that began to progress at a rapid pace 20 years ago and led to total blindness, was able to see with the help of the 'bionic eye' device known as Second Sight Argus II retinal prosthesis system.
The Second Sight Argus II, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February 2013 for people with rare, degenerative eye diseases, does not completely restore vision, but with specially-equipped glasses the patient can see light, and therefore the contours and silhouettes of people and objects.
Zderad, who was implanted by Dr. Raymond Iezzi of the Mayo Clinic could see after 10-years. He said, "It's pulsing light, it's not like regular vision where it's constant. It's the flash and I have to be able to interpret the changes in that shape."
Patrick Finnerty of Second Sight Medical Products who helped to develop the device said, "The bionic eye provides a pixilated type of vision. The patient essentially has to try to determine what those flashes of light mean, and in many cases it can help them determine where a window is, light coming in through the window or where a doorway is, essentially help them navigate the world around them."