By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A device tested in Philadelphia has become the first FDA-approved system to help tens of thousands of blind people see.

The Argus II has been in the works for decades.  Dr. Julia Haller, ophthalmologist-in-chief at Wills Eye Hospital, says it’s thrilling to see it receive FDA approval for patients with retinitis pigmentosa.

Electrodes implanted in the eye receive images from a camera mounted on special glasses, giving patients the gift of sight.

(Image provided)

(Image provided)


The device gives patients shapes and shadows, not perfect vision.  Still, Dr. Haller says the federal panel ruled to approve it after hearing from people whose lives were transformed:

“A gentleman from Chicago who talked about having never his seen his son, and having the implant put in and having his teenage son come up to him and stand in front of him and saying, ‘It’s me, dad.’    And it was his son.”

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