A first in Canada: two patients receive the Argus II implant
Monday, October 27 2014 | 00 h 00 min | Vision Science
Two patients at the Toronto Western Hospital have become the first in Canada to receive the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis Device.
Both patients lost their vision due to retinitis pigmentosa. The prosthesis will not restore their sight, but will allow them to once again perceive light.
A prosthesis the size of a pencil eraser is implanted into the retina. Then each patient is given a pair of glasses with a built-in video camera. Information from the camera is wirelessly transmitted to electrodes in the implant and converted to electrical pulses. These pulses are turned into images, which are transmitted to the brain. The patient must undergo intensive rehabilitation to learn how to process these images.
The implants have already produced results. Orly Shamir, one of the patients, can detect a moving square on a computer screen, which she was unable to see at all before. She can also see the movement of a line across the screen, as well as black and white stripes on a board.
“The device stimulates the retina the same way that light normally does, just electronically,” said Dr. Robert Devenyi, a member of the team of physicians who performed the surgery.