The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared Second Sight Medical Products' retinal prosthesis system to treat patients with late stage retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
The CE-marked Argus II retinal prosthesis system, which the company claims to be the first and only approved retinal prosthesis, is intended to provide electrical stimulation of the retina to induce visual perception in RP patients.
In addition, the system has the capacity to offer life-changing visual capabilities to the individuals who are currently unable to see anything except, at best, extremely bright lights, according to the company.
Foundation Fighting Blindness chief research officer Stephen Rose said, "The Argus II has the potential to provide life-changing vision capabilities as well as increased mobility and independence."
Second Sight president and CEO Robert Greenberg said, "With this approval, we look forward to building a strong surgical network in the United States and recruiting new hospitals that will offer the Argus II retinal implant."
The company said the Argus II system is scheduled to be launched later in 2013 in clinical centers across the country.