Bionic eye procedure performed on 18 in France
To date, the 18 Argus II procedures on patients with retinitis pigmentosa have been labeled a success, with “most” already in the rehabilitation phase
A total of 18 people have received the Argus II bionic eye implant as part of a French national healthcare programme, which covers the cost of innovative devices.
36 patients were selected to receive the sight-restoring Argus II implant as part of the forfait innovation programme, with 50% of then having gone through the implant procedure over the last 14 months.
The manufacturers of the device, Second Sight, signed up to the programme, which was launched by French minister, Marisol Touraine, in 2014.
The 18 operations to date have been performed at the Quinze-Vingts National Ophthalmology Hospital in Paris, with all patients diagnosed with the sight-threatening condition, retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
RP is a hereditary condition which causes progressive degeneration of the light-sensitive cells in the retina and leads to blindness.
The operations are being performed as part of a study, validated by the French National Health Authority (Haute Autorité de Santé), which will see the 18 patients monitored for two years. The data gathered will help to assess the benefits of offering the Argus II as a routine treatment for advanced pigmentary retinopathies, for which there is no alternative treatment currently available in France.
Speaking about the operations, European vice president of Second Sight, Grégoire Cosendai, said: "With the help of the forfait innovation programme, we have already been able to offer treatment to 18 patients, which accounts for half of the 36 operations to take place in France under this new care measure.
"We are delighted to offer retinitis pigmentosa patients in France this high-tech solution and are proud to have developed this device, which we are making available to an ever-growing number of patients around the world.”
All of the procedures have been labelled a success, with “most” already in the rehabilitation phase.