Electronic Retinal Implants
Artificial Vision: Argus II Electronic Epiretinal Implant
Professor Paulo E. Stanga has set-up and is Principal Investigator for a Manchester-only Pilot Study of the Argus II system in Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and has already successfully carried out the first ever implantation of an electronic retinal implant in AMD, which has resulted in the first ever person with integrated artificial (central) and natural (peripheral) vision.
Professor Stanga is also the Manchester Principal Investigator for the Argus II Clinical Trial in Retinitis Pigmentosa. Since early 2009 Professor Stanga and his team have contributed to the advancement of the study through their ongoing research with the enrolled patients. Testing and training with shapes, letters, and short words are helping people to better identify those things which were once so familiar to them. For many of these people, who have gradually lost their sight over time, the brain needs to learn how to recognise the various images that the system sends. Real-world tasks such as the identification of moving/stationary cars or bus stop poles, finding doors and windows, following a crosswalk across the street, localising light sources, and sorting dark/light laundry are also being addressed by the team.
The implant is an epiretinal prosthesis that includes a receiving coil, an electronics package and an electrode array that are surgically implanted in and around the eye.
The entire Argus II system collects video data and wirelessly transmits the signal to the implant. The on-board electronics drive appropriate currents to each electrode in the array and the electrodes then stimulate remaining viable cells in the inner retina. This is intended to produce the perception of spots of light that provide some useful vision.
The external components include glasses, a video processing unit (VPU) and a cable.
The glasses include a miniature video camera, which captures video images, and a coil that sends data and stimulation commands to the implant. The VPU converts the video images into stimulation commands and is worn on the body while the cable connects the glasses to the VPU.
This is the world’s first and only CE mark and FDA approved retinal prosthesis for the blind indicated for severe and profound outer retinal degeneration. Although this is not yet available in the NHS, it is available in the independent/private sector. Please contact Professor Stanga’s secretary on 0(+44)1625 581781 for further information.