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Clinical Trial
. 2015 Aug;122(8):1547-54.
doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2015.04.032. Epub 2015 Jul 8.

Long-Term Results From an Epiretinal Prosthesis to Restore Sight to the Blind

Free PMC article
Clinical Trial

Long-Term Results From an Epiretinal Prosthesis to Restore Sight to the Blind

Allen C Ho et al. Ophthalmology. .
Free PMC article


Purpose: Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited retinal degenerations leading to blindness due to photoreceptor loss. Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare disease, affecting only approximately 100 000 people in the United States. There is no cure and no approved medical therapy to slow or reverse RP. The purpose of this clinical trial was to evaluate the safety, reliability, and benefit of the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System (Second Sight Medical Products, Inc, Sylmar, CA) in restoring some visual function to subjects completely blind from RP. We report clinical trial results at 1 and 3 years after implantation.

Design: The study is a multicenter, single-arm, prospective clinical trial.

Participants: There were 30 subjects in 10 centers in the United States and Europe. Subjects served as their own controls, that is, implanted eye versus fellow eye, and system on versus system off (native residual vision).

Methods: The Argus II System was implanted on and in a single eye (typically the worse-seeing eye) of blind subjects. Subjects wore glasses mounted with a small camera and a video processor that converted images into stimulation patterns sent to the electrode array on the retina.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome measures were safety (the number, seriousness, and relatedness of adverse events) and visual function, as measured by 3 computer-based, objective tests.

Results: A total of 29 of 30 subjects had functioning Argus II Systems implants 3 years after implantation. Eleven subjects experienced a total of 23 serious device- or surgery-related adverse events. All were treated with standard ophthalmic care. As a group, subjects performed significantly better with the system on than off on all visual function tests and functional vision assessments.

Conclusions: The 3-year results of the Argus II trial support the long-term safety profile and benefit of the Argus II System for patients blind from RP. Earlier results from this trial were used to gain approval of the Argus II by the Food and Drug Administration and a CE mark in Europe. The Argus II System is the first and only retinal implant to have both approvals.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest

Jessy D. Dorn and Robert J. Greenberg are employees of and have financial interest in Second Sight Medical Products. Mark S. Humayun and Eugene de Juan have financial interest in Second Sight Medical Products.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Panel A shows the implanted portions of the Argus II System (Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., Sylmar, CA). Panel B shows the external components of the Argus II System. Images in real time are captured by the camera mounted on the glasses. The Video Processing Unit (VPU) down-samples and processes the image, converting it to stimulation patterns. Data and power are sent via radio frequency link from the transmitter antenna on the glasses to the receiver antenna around the eye. A removable, rechargeable battery powers the System.

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