Bringing sight to the blind

Second Sight

Second Sight + Pixium Vision

Californian based Second Sight Medical Products has partnered with France based Pixium Vision to develop, manufacture and market implantable visual prosthetics that are intended to deliver useful artificial vision to blind individuals. 

Known worldwide as leaders in neuromodulation devices, the Company’s have pursued new technology that can be used to treat blindness in a wide range of populations.

“285 million people worldwide suffer some form of visual impairment of which roughly 40 million are completely
blind. There are many causes for blindness and the combination of Pixium Vision and Second Sight has the
potential to bring novel treatments to patients, for whom today, there are no clinical treatment options.”

Professor José-Alain Sahel, Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School
of Medicine

Transforming Vision
Image via

In society, blindness has major economic and social consequences, leading to increase in direct healthcare costs and indirect costs (lost productivity, costs of care by non-professionals).

Worldwide, blindness treatment represents a significant unmet medical need.

1 WHO 2014 Eye Care fact sheet 282
2 Wong, WL et al., Global prevalence of age-related macular degeneration and disease burden projection for 2020 and 2040: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Global Health
3 NORC University of Chicago – The Economic burden of vision loss and eye disorders 2013

How the system works to bring back sight

A mini camera mounted on the glasses captures visual scenes in the environment. The visual scene is processed and simplified by the pocket computer. Equipped with breakthrough algorithms from artificial intelligence, it is able to extract useful information from the images.

The simplified images are then sent back to the glasses where a miniaturized digital projector then projects the processed images, It does this via pulses of near infrared light on the PRIMA wireless photovoltaic subretinal implant. Through the pupil, at the back of the eye under the retina.

The photovoltaic cells of the implant convert this optical information into electrical stimulation. This in turn excites the bipolar nerve cells of the inner retina and subsequently induce visual perception in the brain.

The PRIMA technology

Renewed abilities

Innovations such as these have wide reaching benefits for the bling and partially blind allowing wearers to:-

  • Enjoy increased mobility and independence
  • Feel more at ease in social settings
  • Get back to hobbies
  • Re-engage with their community

This truly does have the building blocks for transforming vision for so many people on the planet.