(NEW YORK) — People who have lost their vision as a result of a rare genetic disease may soon be able to have some of their sight restored, thanks to the first FDA-approved eye implant.
The implant, named the Argus II, works to wirelessly transmit images to the brain through a video camera and transmitter on a pair of glasses.
While the implant does not restore vision, the FDA said the device might help the blind to see by allowing them “to detect light and dark in the environment.”
Dr. Mark Humayn, who has been working on the Argus II for the past 25 years, told ABC’s Good Morning America he committed himself “to developing a new way and a new approach so that those that are blind can have a foreseeable solution.”
“One of the things I can do now is laundry,” Kathy Blake told Good Morning America. “My husband had to put the colored clothing in, and with the glasses, I’m able to do that myself.”
Blake, 61, who has been blind for 23 years, underwent a two-hour surgery and said she now uses the glasses to “help [her] be more outdoor with mobility, walking.”
The device is only approved for retintis pigmentosa, a disorder that causes gradual blindness and affects 100,000 people in the United States.
If successful, the device could eventually be used to treat millions with other vision disorders.
“I think that the future for this is going to be big,” Blake said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio