A: There have been news stories of late talking about a “bionic eye transplant”. The Argus II is a device that allows some perception of light and motion in patients who have lost their vision due to retinitis pigmentosa. Surgery is done to place a small electronic device on the patient’s retina. The patient them wears a camera mounted on a pair of glasses, and a portable processing unit. Images are sent wirelessly to the implant in the patients retina. The implant stimulates some of the working cells in the retina and the brain interprets these patterns of light. The Argus II does not restore complete, natural vision. The vision that is restored is black and white only. It does not include fine details.
Currently, the Argus II is only for people who have no vision or almost no vision from advanced retinitis pigmentosa. There is no complete electronic eye transplant. Also an entire eye cannot be transplanted with donor tissue. However, parts of the eye, such as the cornea can be.
Information provided by Dr. Jonathan Anderson, Optometric Associates of Warren County, P.C., 1228 Sunset Drive, Suite A, Norwalk, 981-0224.