DOE Artificial Retina Project

Archive Site Provided for Historical Purposes

Funding for this work ended in FY 2011.

Artificial Retina: In the News

February 14, 2013
FDA Approves Argus II

After more than 20 years of research and development, Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., has announced that it's Argus® II Retinal Prosthesis System ("Argus II") has received U.S. market approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat individuals with late stage retinitis pigmentosa (RP). This announcement followed receipt of the European approval in 2011, and a unanimous recommendation by the FDA's Ophthalmic Devices Advisory Panel in September 2012 that this revolutionary product be made available to treat this patient population in the U.S.

With approval from the FDA, the Argus II is slated to be available later in 2013 in clinical centers across the country. Second Sight will be actively adding sites to make the therapy more readily available and encourages interested facilities and patients to contact them.

About Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)

RP, an inherited retinal degenerative disease that often results in nearly complete blindness, affects roughly 100,000 Americans.  The Argus II System is intended to help the worst-affected RP patients, and this approval was made under a Humanitarian Device Exemption intended to expedite market introduction of technologies intended to treat smaller, underserved patient populations.

For more information, visit

Press Releases

February 14, 2013. FDA Approves Argus II

  • FDA approves first bionic eye for the blind; DOE press release, 2/14/2013
  • FDA approves first retinal implant for adults with rare genetic eye disease; FDA press release: 2/14/2013 (link expired)
  • Second Sight medical products receives FDA approval for Argus II system; Second Sight press release: 2/14/2013
  • Retinal implant wins FDA approval; USC Doheny Eye Institute press release: 2/14/2013 (link expired)

Mark Humayun inducted into Institute of Medicine; Institute of Medicine press release, 10/12/2009

Artificial Retina Project wins Prestigious 2009 R&D 100 Award; Article and multiple press releases, 07/20/2009

Second Sight to double patient enrollment for Argus™ II retinal implant U.S. clinical trial; Second Sight press release, 05/04/09

Related Articles


The FDA approves bionic eye (with video); New York Times, February 15, 2013

Bionic eye lets the blind see; Slate, February 15, 2013

FDA approves 'bionic eye' for rare vision disorder; WebMD, February 14, 2013

World's first bionic eye receives FDA approval; Popular Science, February 14, 2013

Bionic eye becomes a reality; Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2013

Bionic eye implant approved to help regain sight lost to disease; San Francisco Chronicle, February 14, 2013

The blind may soon see again as science prepares to market high-tech cyborg eye; Daily Mail, February 8, 2013

First Bionic Eye For US Market Awaits Approval From FDA; Forbes, January 29, 2013


Robotic eye gives blind people the power of sight;, February 14, 2011


Popular Mechanics award given to artificial retina team;, September 30, 2010

SoCal inventors recognized by Popular Mechanics;, September 28, 2010

New technology gives hope for the blind; ABC7 News, April 15, 2010

New sight for the blind; San Francisco Business Times, April 3, 2010

Artificial retina restores sight to the blind; Ventura County Star, February 24, 2010

Seeing and believing; Conta Costa Times, February 21, 2010

Working on a cure for blindness; ABC12 News, February 12, 2010 (with video)

Lab plays key role in DOE's artificial retina project; R&D Magazine, February 10, 2010

Technology behind Second Sight retinal prosthesis; medGadget, February 4, 2010

Third generation artificial retina could restore site to millions; AZoM News, February 4, 2010

Medical minute 2-3: Was blind but now can see; WCTV-TV, February 3, 2010


Artificial retina gives woman limited vision after decades of darkness; CNN (includes video), December 11, 2009

Blind man fitted with 'bionic' eye sees for first time in 30 years; Daily Mail, November 27, 2009

Artificial retina, video camera give partial vision to the blind;, October 20, 2009

Bionic eye opens new world of sight for blind; National Public Radio, October 20, 2009

Burst of technology helps blind to see; New York Times, September 26, 2009

Implant gives new hope to the blind; Philadelphia Inquirer, September 8, 2009

Livermore, Los Alamos Team for Artificial Retina Project to Help Restore Vision for Many; FLC NewsLink, September 2009 (see page 6 of PDF)

Artificial retina project has ORNL roots; ORNL Reporter, August 28, 2009

The "holy grail" of ophthalmic devices; Assembly Magazine, August 20, 2009

Artificial-retina project designed to restore sight to the blind; Science Daily, August 4, 2009

Battelle and affiliated national labs win 24 R&D 100 awards; TMC News, July 20, 2009

ORNL researchers win 8 R&D 100 awards;, July 20, 2009

Caltech-supported innovation to treat blindness earns R+D 100 award; A to Z of Optics, July 20, 2009

Aumenta el uso de nanomateriales: Se están probando para fabricar retinas artificiales, detener hemorragias y absorber sustancias contaminantes; La Nacion (Argentina), March 24, 2009

Engineering sight: researchers collaboration on implantable device that promises to restore vision; Columbus Dispatch, March 22, 2009

Prosthetic implants to prevent blindness; Medical News Today, March 21, 2009

ORNL, Southern Cal set sights on preventing blindness; R&D Magazine, March 19, 2009

Bionic eye begins to see real-world results; Gizmag, March 11, 2009

Eyes and the lens of the future; MSO Korea, March 10, 2009

Device restores limited sight to the blind; SFGate, March 9, 2009

Device restores limited sight to the blind; ABC15TV, March 9, 2009

Bionic eye offers blind gift of sight; CBS11TV, March 6, 2009

Health alert: bionic eye a sight to behold (article includes video); CBS3CW, March 6, 2009

Blind patients given 'bionic eye' (article includes video); BBC, March 4, 2009

Bionic eye helps blind man see again; News Scotsman, March 4, 2009

Goan doc pioneers bionic eye; The Times of India, Feb. 23, 2009

Bionic eye implant; Buffalo News, Jan. 11, 2009

Researchers set their sights on artificial retinas; Sacramento Bee, Jan. 4, 2009


Eyecare and eyewear trends for 2009 and beyond; International Business Times, Dec. 30, 2008

Eyecare device to undergo clinical trial by Dec 2009; Wall Street Journal (, Nov. 6, 2008

US-based eye center to test artificial retina in India; SmartBrief, Nov. 6, 2008

DOE-sponsored project readies human trial for artificial retinas; Slashdot, June 26, 2008

Next-generation artificial retina focuses on clinical trials; EE Times, June 26, 2008

Argus II - restoring vision to the blind with microchips news;, June 25, 2008

Sight for the blind: the bionic eye; Nigerian Tribune, May 14, 2008

Electronic retinal device may help blind people see; Printed Electronics World, May 13, 2008

Bionic eye implants give partial vision to blind patients; Daily Tech, April 23, 2008

'Bionic eye' gives blind people some sight; Guardian, April 22, 2008

Bionic eye 'blindness cure hope'; BBC News, April 21, 2008

Bionic eye implants make blind 'see again' in pioneering operation; The Mail on Sunday, (UK), April 21, 2008

World's first true bionic eye; Sky News, April 21, 2008

Bionic breakthrough helps blind see; Sky News Video, April 21, 2008

Platinum chip allows woman to see again; Platinum Today, April 21, 2008

Surgeons give hope to blind with successful 'bioniceye' operations; Times Online, London, April 21, 2008

Bionic eye helps the blind see;, April 21, 2008

Breakthrough—bionic eye Lets the blind see; Islamic Republic News Agency, April 21, 2008

Bionic eye' offers grandmother the chance to enjoy a view of the future; News Scotsman, April 21, 2008 (Scotland)

Scientists set sights on an implantable prosthetic for the blind; Scientific American, March 19, 2008

Building a bionic eye; Science Illustrated, January/February 2008


Till the well of research runs dry: without funding to replenish science, US technological advances will cease; Orlando Sentinel, Dec. 17, 2007

Welcome to the new body shop; Times Online UK, Nov. 3, 2007

Decoding the human eye: superdense arrays of electrodes will bring scientists closer to an artificial retina that approximates normal vision; MIT Technology Review, Oct. 24, 2007

Incredible Human Machine; National Geographic (video), Oct. 21, 2007

Eyesight to the blind; Utne Reader, October 2007

Eye camera restores sight; Edmonton Sun, Sept. 12, 2007

Texas Instruments: processing away the pain. Health-care innovations are coming from an unexpected source: Texas Instruments; Business Week, Sept. 3, 2007

Restoring sight, one pixel at a time; CCNews, Aug. 8, 2007

The body beautified; Digit, July 2007

Nu får blinde synet tilbage; Illustreret Videnskab, (Denmark), 2007

Seeing is believing in micro Implants; Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, June 11, 2007

Signing on for hazardous duty; Advanced Imaging Magazine, May 29, 2007

A second chance at sight; IEC E-Tech Online News, April 2007

Device could give partial sight to the blind; ABC 7 News, KGO-TV/DT, San Francisco, April 11, 2007

Bionic implants available today; medGadget, March 29, 2007

Six million dollar man; Voice of America's Our World Interview with Mark Humayun, March 17, 2007

TechSmart: innovations for your life; ABC 7 News Chicago (Text and Video), March 16, 2007

Eyesight chip; ScienCentral News, March 15, 2007

FDA approves study of next-generation retinal implant; Electronic Design, March 15, 2007

Neuroscience probes new frontiers; CNN, March 6, 2007

New hope for the blind; Reuters (Video), March 5, 2007

USC researcher develops bionic eye; CBS, February 27, 2007

Robotic retina offers second chance for sight; Daily Times, (Pakistan), February 26, 2007

Retinal implant moves a step closer; Optician Online, February 23, 2007

The substitution solution: restoring vision, hearing, and movement; The Why Files, February 22, 2007

Seeing is not believing; Guardian Unlimited, February 20, 2007

Retinal implant restores sight; Ivanhoe, February 19, 2007

Artificial Retina Restores Sight to Blind; ECanadaNow, February 19, 2007

Un 'ojo biónico' permite a seis ciegos recobrar parcialmente la visión; IntraMed, Feb. 19, 2007

Los científicos buscan prótesis 'inteligentes' para paliar la pérdida de vista y de movimiento;, February 19, 2007

The bionic eye Approaches: the next generation of retinal implants; Gizmag, February 19, 2007

USC developing next generation of retinal implants; Daily Tech, February 19, 2007

Retinal implant raises hope for restored vision; The Money Times, (India), February 18, 2007

'Bionic eye' offers hope to blind; Japan Today, February 18, 2007

Bionic eye for blind in sight; New York Post, February 18, 2007

Un 'ojo biónico' permite a seis ciegos recobrar parcialmente la visión; (Madrid), February 18, 2007

Bionic eye offers hope of sight to the blind; Sydney Morning Herald, February 18, 2007

'Bionic Eye' Offers Hope to Blind; Radio New Zealand, February 18, 2007

Eye implant could open world to blind; The West Australian, February 18, 2007

Bionic eye: second chance for sight; Pakistan Dawn, Feb. 18, 2007

Retinal implant restores limited sight to blind;, February 17, 2007

'Bionic' eye successfully restores partial vision; EarthTimes, February 17, 2007

Bionic Eye Gives Sight to Blind; The Independent, February 17, 2007

Millions to benefit as first bionic eye comes to market; The Times (UK), February 17, 2007

Six blind people regain partial sight thanks to 'bionic eye' implant; The Guardian (UK), February 17, 2007

Bionic eye restores sight to the blind; FoxNews, February 17, 2007

Bionic eye implant holds hope for millions of blind; Gulf News (UAE), February 17, 2007

I could see my son for the first time in 13 years; Telegraph (UK), February 17, 2007

Artificial Retina Implant Holds Promise for Blind; ZDNet, February 16, 2007

Retinal implant restores limited sight to blind; Atlanta Journal Constitution, February 16, 2007

Retinal implant restores Limited sight to blind;, February 16, 2007

Artificial Retina Holds Promise for Blind: Tiny Implant Counters Age-Related Macular Degeneration; Clinical Trials Next; MSNBC, February 16, 2007

Chip to help blind see 'due in two years'; Scotsman, February 16, 2007

Tests set to begin on next-generation electronic retina. Argus II may one day offer sight to blind people, experts say; Computerworld, February 16, 2007

Better 'bionic eye' offers new hope of restored vision; New Scientist, February 16, 2007

Trials for 'bionic' eye implants; BBC, February 16, 2007

Artificial retina implant holds promise for blind; Khaleej Times, (UAE), February 16, 2007

Retinal Implant Restores Limited Sight to Blind; CBC News, (Canada), February 16, 2007

Tests set to begin on next-generation electronic retina; PC World, February 16, 2007

Next-generation retinal iImplant; MIT Technology Review, February 16, 2007

Boffins see the light with bionic eye; Vnunet, February 16, 2007

Artificial Retina Implant Holds Promise for Blind; Scientific American, February 15, 2007

Artificial retina implant holds promise for blind; ABC News, February 15, 2007


Nano's big future; National Geographic Magazine, June 2006 (subscription required)

Biomedical engineering: A vision for the blind; Science, May 26, 2006 (subscription required)


2005 Innovator of the Year: Mark Humayun brings sight to the blind; R&D Magazine, October 20, 2005 (free)

A biomimetic retinal stimulating array; IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2005 (free)

Cutting edge trio; Los Angeles Business Journal, Aug. 8, 2005

The bionic eye; Popular Science, June 1, 2005 (free)

Diamond coating for Second Sight iImplant; medGadget Internet Journal for Emerging Technologies, April 5, 2005 (free)

Artificial retina gets diamond coating; News@ Nature, March 28, 2005

Cybersenses episode; PBS television Scientific American Frontiers, March 6, 2005


Second Sight: Sylmar company's implants taking the fiction out of 'Star Trek' science for the blind; Deaf Today, July 13, 2004

VIsion quest: bionic eyes; The Scientist, May 10, 2004 (subscription required)


Retinal prosthesis provides hope for restoring sight; LLNL Science and Technology, Nov. 7, 2003 (free)

BioMEMS: New Retinas for Old; Mechanical Engineering, October 2003

DOE spearheads collaboration on retinal prostheses; Neurotech Business Report, 2003 (free)

Rays of hope for the blind; Wall street Journal, August 27, 2003 (subscription required)


Prosthetic retinas for the blind; Business Week, May 27, 2002 (free)


Visionary implant: artificial retinas; Economist, September 20, 2001 (subscription required)

MEMS micromachines: they're huge; Forbes, April 2, 2001 (free)

The innovators: Meet the 65 companies and their owners who have conjured up the latest wave of products, services, and technologies — A chip fights blindness; Fortune Small Business, May 2001 (free)


An electric retina; The Whitaker Foundation 2000 Annual Report


Seeing the light; Johns Hopkins Magazine, Nov. 1999

The Artificial Retina Project was part of the
Biological and Environmental Research Program
of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science
Funding for this work ended in FY 2011.

DOE Office of Science

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