Argus II for Dry AMD

Argus II for Dry AMD

Posted under Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info, The Eye

Four more patients with dry macular degeneration will receive a retinal implant called the Argus II retinal prosthesis.  The first recipient with dry AMD, Ray Flynn, was fitted with the implant  June 16, 2015.   The system was then activated July 1, 2015. One of the most impressive vision improvements he has experienced is that he can now make out the faces of his loved ones and friends.  Mr Flynn, now 80 years old,  was diagnosed eight years ago with dry AMD and has experienced a steady deterioration of his central vision during that time.  He states “I have central vision now which I haven’t had for eight years. “

The Argus II has been implanted in more than 100 patients who have end stage retinitis pigmentosa, a retinal condition that is somewhat the opposite of macular degeneration.  These patients gradually lose their night and peripheral vision which progressively gets worse so that their color and central vision eventually become affected.  This retinal prosthesis system received U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in February, 2013.

Consultant Ophthalmologist Paulo Stanga at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital in Britain wanted to see if the retinal implant device would work in patients who have lost their central vision.  He states, “Mr. Flynn is the first patient to be implanted with Argus II as part of a trial we are doing that aims to establish whether blind patients with total central-vision loss due to dry AMD can benefit from an artificial retina.”

The system consists of several different components and processes.  First the “bionic eye” is transplanted into the eye during a 4 hour surgery. The patient is then required to wear glasses that hold a miniature camera.  The video images from the camera convert into small electrical pulses that are transmitted wirelessly to electrodes that have been placed on the surface of the retina.   While the technology does not yet provide fine detailed vision, it does allow patients to see the “outlines of people and objects very effectively.”  The Argus II is made by Second Sight Medical Products, a U.S. based company.

“As far as I am concerned, the first results of the trial are a total success, and I look forward to treating more dry AMD patients with the Argus II as part of this trial,” reports Dr. Stanga.


Leslie Degner, RN, BSN