Wednesday, April 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Artificial retina offers eye-opening promise

By
From page A8 | March 08, 2013 | Leave Comment

The issue: California firm’s breakthrough can help some blind people to see

The artificial retina approved last month by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, offering hope of limited vision to thousands who suffer from a special form of blindness, can truly be described as a breakthrough.

A CALIFORNIA COMPANY, aptly named Second Sight Medical Products Inc., has been given the regulatory green light for a device described as a retinal prosthesis. It treats advanced retinitis pigmentosa, a disease with a strong hereditary component. It damages and then kills cells in the retina, the part of the eye that processes light, ultimately resulting in total blindness.

The device, called Argus II, consists of a miniature video camera attached to a pair of glasses. A small computer translates images into electronic data that are transmitted to some 55 electrodes in a retinal implant the size of an aspirin. It, in turn, sends visual signals on to the brain.

The wearer sees images in black and white, and they’re sharpest when there are strong contrasts. Optimally, the user can locate objects and doorways in an unfamiliar room, detect motion, recognize large letters such as those in street signs, identify crosswalks and safely navigate a sidewalk.

The Washington Post says the Argus II was developed with the help of more than $100 million in federal grants, something to keep in mind the next time some hot-headed lawmaker talks about taking a meat ax to federal spending.

AN ESTIMATED 100,000 Americans suffer from retinitis pigmentosa. This development also offers hope for treating macular degeneration, an age-related loss of vision that affects about 2 million people.

Like any breakthrough — one certified by the FDA, moreover — the Argus II should spur further refinements and innovations and galvanize competing technologies. That — combined with developments in stem cells, gene therapy and surgical techniques — offers the hope that one day retinal diseases will be not only treatable but bionically curable.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    New mosaic mural reflects Peña family history

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

     
    UC Davis biodigester hungers for food scraps

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Penalty decision looms in Winters homicide case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Hay bales burn east of Davis

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Woman killed by train ID’d

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Pro-Russian insurgents hold journalist captive

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

    Davis Arts Center: See ceramics, join the Big Day of Giving

    By Erie Vitiello | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Fire damages Woodland home

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

    Register to vote by May 19

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sign up for enviro organizations during Earth Week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Bible fun featured at Parents’ Night Out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Davis businesswoman presides over conference

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Birch Lane sells garden plants, veggies

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Team Blend hosts fundraiser for Nicaragua project

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

    Fundraiser benefits Oakley campaign

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Fire crews gather for joint training

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Odd Fellows host culinary benefit for nonprofit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    400 bikes go up for bids at UCD auction

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sunder hosts campaign event for kids

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Church hosts discussion of mental health needs, services

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    UCD to host premiere of autism documentary

    By Cory Golden | From Page: A4

    UFC hears from two local historians

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    UCD professor to talk about new book

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Fly Fishers talk to focus on healthy streams, rivers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Train to become a weather spotter

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Learn survival skills at Cache Creek Preserve

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Veterans, internees may receive overdue diplomas

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    UC Davis conference showcases undergraduate research

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Conservation District celebrates its stewardship efforts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Slow Food tour showcases area’s young farmers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Forum

    Even a safe house needs boundaries

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    I support Sunder for board

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Will anyone notice?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    My votes reflect city values

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    A plea on the Bard’s birthday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    DHS thunders back to win an epic DVC volleyball match

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    DHS/Franklin I goes to the Blue Devil softballers

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Davis gets to Grant ace and rolls in DVC crucial

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Walchli is under par in another Devil victory

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Seniors send Blue Devil girls past Broncos in a lacrosse rout

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
     
    Baseball roundup: Rangers rally to beat A’s in the ninth

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Sharks go up 3-0 with OT win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

     
    .

    Arts

     
    Five Three Oh! featured at April Performers’ Circle

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Celebrate spring at I-House on Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Music, wine flow at Fourth Friday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Biscuits ‘n Honey will play at winery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Catharine ‘Kay’ Lathrop

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6