Second Sight Medical Products has received approval from Health Canada for Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System to treat patients with severe to profound outer retinal degeneration.

The system is said to provide electrical stimulation to bypass the defunct cells and stimulate remaining viable retinal cells inducing visual perception in individuals with outer retinal degeneration.

Second Sight Medical Products president and CEO Robert Greenberg said: "This regulatory approval and the first implants of the Argus II in Canada are tremendous milestones, not only for Second Sight, but also for those affected by outer retinal degenerations in Canada.

"Leveraging more than 20 years of research and development, supported by strong intellectual property, and coming on the heels of our approval in the US., today’s approval enables us to expand our international network of Centers of Excellence, which offer the Argus II retinal implant, into additional Canadian provinces beyond Ontario."

The Argus II implant will improve a blind person’s ability to carry out routine daily activities such as recognizing shapes or large objects, locating people, identifying the location of doorways, and following lines or edges.

The system acts by converting images captured by a miniature video camera mounted on the patient’s glasses into a series of small electrical pulses that are transmitted wirelessly to an array of electrodes implanted on the surface of the retina.

According to the company, Argus II is the only retinal prosthesis approved by Health Canada and the US Food and Drug Administration.