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"Bionic eye" not just the stuff of T.V. shows

In the 70's television show, "The Six Million Dollar Man", the main character, Steve Austin had a bionic eye which gave him a sort of "super" vision. Yesterday's fantasy has become today's reality with the development of the Argus II. While it doesn't bestow super vision upon the recipient, it does allow the person to see mainly in black and white but it's hoped that eventually color vision will be possible as well. A combination of an eye implant and a special video-camera-like glasses, the Argus II is a retinal prosthesis and is awaiting FDA approval although it's currently available in Europe. Patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa are the main beneficiary's of the device although researchers believe macular degeneration patients may soon benefit from the technology as well. Almost 50 patients have been implanted with the Argus II here in the United States and two-thirds of those recipients are reporting improvements in their vision. The manufacturer of the Argus II, Second Sight, is currently working on improving the video cameras and software.

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