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Health Agencies Update
March 27, 2013

Retinal Implant

JAMA. 2013;309(12):1220. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.2714

The first implantable device to help patients with advanced retinitis pigmentosa see better has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (http://tinyurl.com/agz92x4).

Patients who receive the device have a retinal prosthesis surgically implanted. They then wear a pair of glasses mounted with a video camera and wireless transmitter. The transmitter sends information collected by the video camera to the prosthetic, which translates the information into electrical impulses that trigger the production of images by the retina. The device was approved through the FDA's humanitarian device pathway, which is available for devices that will be used to treat fewer than 4000 people a year.