World first for Stargardt's disease

The first patient with Stargardt’s disease has received the Argus II ‘bionic eye’

Professor Stanislao Rizzo

A 67-year-old women in Italy has become the first person with Stargardt’s disease to be successfully fitted with the Argus II ‘bionic eye.’

Lucia was diagnosed with Stargardt’s, a rare inherited retinal disease affecting one in 10,000 people, in her early childhood, with her vision gradually deteriorating until she lost her sight completely.

She explained: “At the age of eight, I suffered a dramatic reduction of sight and I had to abandon my passion for reading. Blindness changed my life and many hobbies and pastimes have been closed to me. With the Argus II retinal prosthesis, I intend to be more independent in future, and above all, no longer be afraid of the dark around me.”

The surgery to implant the retinal prosthesis system was performed at the Careggi Hospital in Florence by Professor Stanislao Rizzo. He commented: “Lucia has a very advanced stage of Stargardt’s disease, and a total absence of peripheral and central visual fields. This is an optimal indication for the Argus II.”

As the 27th patient that Professor Rizzo has performed the Argus II implant procedure on, Luica is expected to have “even better” functional results compared to a retinitis pigmentosa patients who have received the implant, “as with Stargardt’s the outer layers of the retina are better preserved.”

The Argus II is designed, developed and marketed by Second Sight Medical Products. As the first artificial retina to have secured the CE mark for marketing in Europe, as well as the only prosthetic to have been granted FDA approval in the US and Canada, it has already been successfully implanted into over 190 patients worldwide.