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CNET News Video: First FDA-approved bionic eye ready for commercial launch in US

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CNET News Video: First FDA-approved bionic eye ready for commercial launch in US

2:28 /

After more than 20 years in the making, the world's first FDA-approved bionic eye will soon be launching commercially in the United States. The device could help the tens of thousands of people who suffer from a rare, degenerative eye disease. CNET's Sumi Das explains how the Argus II device works to bring light into the darkness.

-Atty. Dean Lloyd suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease which destroys photo receptor cells and impedes a person's ability to detect light. -I feel nothing, except maybe I could have retained data [unk] for night time. That was the only thing I could be safe for 17 years. -Now, a device 20 years in the making that will soon be commercially available in the US is helping patients like Lloyd. -My perception was sort of like a flash of light or a star that you might see in the sky. Well, now I can see boundaries and borders -The Argus II by Second Sight was FDA approved earlier this year. And patients are being screened at the 12 major US hospitals chosen as implant centers. -And you could hear it beeping away. -The device includes a chip with an array of electrodes that's implanted on the retina and glasses with a video camera that wirelessly transmit images. -It converts that video into a 60-pixel image that then delivers electronic impulses to the 60 little electrodes in the chip than then stimulates the retina to generate a perception or message that the brain can then interpret and understand. -The device doesn't restore vision but patients can detect light and dark, thus identifying an object location and movement. -I walk down the side walk on my bus stop, here in my office on daily basis and I can see where the grass comes up to, a side walk like concrete color. -The device is not gonna enable them to, you know, drive a car, you know, read fine print on a newspaper but that it might help them enjoy better quality of life. Some patients report that they can see the outline of people talking to them. Some patients have benefited from being able to sort their laundry from light and dark socks. -Settings for the Argus II can be modified for individual needs. Second Sight is also working on software upgrades to improve resolution and possibly provide color. Lloyd says he now almost feels naked without them. -They say, sir your Google Glasses looks really nice. -I said, I don't have Google Glasses, thank you. How's it going doctor? -Making some take a second look at the first government approved bionic eye. Sumi Das San Francisco, CNET for CBS News.
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