The field of retinal prosthetics has seen significant advances in the past 3 decades. Encouraging results from different groups have shown coarse objective functional improvement, using a range of technological and surgical approaches. The Argus II retinal prosthesis system was the first of its kind to receive regulatory approval for commercial use in Europe and the USA. The device is designed to replicate the function of photoreceptors in converting visual information into electrical neural signals in patients with profound visual loss secondary to degenerative retinal disease. Results from a phase II study of 30 patients have demonstrated improved performance in basic tests of visual function, object recognition, letter reading, prehension, orientation and mobility tasks. It is now the most widely implanted retinal prosthetic device worldwide. This chapter provides an overview of the requirements of a retinal prosthetic system, the results from the Argus II device to date, and an insight into some of the challenges and future directions of visually restorative therapies.
Part of the book: Prosthesis