"A game changer in sight-affecting diseases"
Those afflicted with Retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease, undergo a very particular kind of medical trauma. They might experience night blindness, or nyctalopia. They might experience tunnel vision (the lack of peripheral vision) or, on the other hand, they might lack central vision. They might have latticework vision. They might have blurred vision. They might have trouble adjusting from light environments to dark, and vice versa. They might have trouble distinguishing among colors. They might, finally, go blind.
There hasn't been much that science has been able to do to help those who suffer from RP. While those afflicted with deafness might be able to turn to devices like cochlear implants to improve their hearing, those who suffer from retinal degeneration haven't been so lucky. Until now.
Enter the Argus II, a retinal prosthesis. Since RP affects only the retina, leaving the optic nerve intact, the bionic eye is able to substitute for the eye's natural photoreceptors by directly stimulating the retina's remaining cells -- which in turn pass the signal to the optic nerve. The device, developed by the firm Second Sight and already approved for use in Europe, just got approval from the Food and Drug Administration.