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Bionic eye gets FDA wink: Argus II is approved (VIDEO)

This undated product image provided by Second Sight Medical Products shows a new implantable device that takes the place of damaged cells inside the eye. The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, approved the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System as the first treatment for an inherited disorder that causes the breakdown of cells in the retina, a membrane inside the eye. The FDA says that while the device will not fully restore patients' vision, "it may allow them to detect light and dark in the environment," which could help them perform daily tasks.
This undated product image provided by Second Sight Medical Products shows a new implantable device that takes the place of damaged cells inside the eye. The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, approved the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System as the first treatment for an inherited disorder that causes the breakdown of cells in the retina, a membrane inside the eye. The FDA says that while the device will not fully restore patients' vision, "it may allow them to detect light and dark in the environment," which could help them perform daily tasks. AP Photo/ Second Sight Medical ProductsA

A bionic eye called the Argus II was approved this week by the FDA. The Second Sight Medical Products system could give people with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare, genetic eye disease, the ability to perceive shapes and movement.  

It works like this: A tiny video camera inside a pair of glasses transforms what it sees into data that gets wirelessly transmitted to a surgically implanted artificial retina. 

Go ahead and read that again. Then read the official release below.

The Argus II, approved as a "humanitarian use device," had support from The Department of Energy, National Eye Institute at the NIH and the National Science Foundation.

The New York Times reports that development of the Argus II was started more than two decades ago by Dr. Mark S. Humayun at the University of Southern California.

VIDEO

FDA OFFICIAL RELEASE

FDA Approves First Retinal Implant for Adults With Rare Genetic Eye Disease

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