The FDA has approved an artificial implant, called Argus 11, to restore some sight to people with retinitis pigmentosa. A special pair of glasses is outfitted with a video camera and a video processing unit that sends signals to a wireless receiver implanted in the eye. “To restore vision, signals from the camera are sent to the retina, where they travel to the optic nerve in the brain. The brain then receives these signals and interprets them as a visual picture.” At present the approval is limited to 4000 people per year, adults 25 or older who have profound retinitis pigmentosa, with no light or bare light perception. Ultimately the team hopes this treatment will be used for age-related macular degeneration. The system costs about $115,000 in Europe.
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