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Second Sight

Second Sight’s Argus® II Retinal Implant now

available also in the Netherlands

In Amsterdam, a new center of excellence that provides this innovative treatment to restore vision in blind patients

Lausanne, 3 July, 2013 – Second Sight announces today that Argus II Bionic Eye is now also available in the Netherlands. Many patients suffering from Retinitis Pigmentosa have now the possibility to regain some functional vision with this treatment.

Dr. Marco Mura, vitreo-retinal surgeon at Oogziekenhuis Zonnestraal and AMC, Amsterdam, marked an important milestone when two patients blinded by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) were implanted with an Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System (Argus II), becoming the first patients in the Netherlands to be implanted with sight restoring technology manufactured by Second Sight Medical Products Inc.

'Being able to restore eyesight to the blind is the realisation of my dream. I became a doctor to improve people's quality of life; I became an ophthalmologist to cure those with eye disorders.' Dr Mura said after these first operations.

RP is a rare, hereditary disease that causes a progressive degeneration of the light-sensitive cells of the retina, leading to significant visual impairment and ultimately blindness. The Netherlands has 45,000 blind people. Of these people, approximately 4,700 suffer from retinitis pigmentosa, of whom approximately 50 lose their sight annually. The disease is a collective term for a group of eye conditions that lead to poor vision in the dark (night blindness) and to a very gradual reduction of the visual field which ultimately results in tunnel vision. The condition does not have a standard course, but most of the patients lose their sight by the age of forty.

In the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System a mini camera mounted on sunglasses captures the scene. The images are first processed by a video processing unit; this data is then transmitted wirelessly to the implant that stimulates the remaining healthy cells of the retina, inducing pattern of lights that the brain interprets as shapes and movements. This technique allows blind people who suffer from the hereditary condition to distinguish light and contours again. Clinical results have demonstrated that Argus II is reliable over the long term and provides benefit to implanted patients followed up to 5 years. In daily life activities, profoundly blind Argus II users improved dramatically in their ability to conduct visual tasks and complement to other assistive means used by the blind. It may also enable other life style tasks generally considered impossible for the blind (for example reading). For all users, it means being connected to the visual world again, with all its associated advantages in terms of social interactions, and independence. The treatment has been commercially available till now in many hospitals worldwide, located in Germany, Italy, England, France, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and the USA.

Gregoire Cosendai, PhD, Head of Europe for Second Sight. “We are very pleased to introduce our treatment for the blind people in the Netherlands, in a center of excellence in eye care such as Oogziekenhuis Zonnestraal Amsterdam. They are the clear example of how a leading center in the application of modern ophthalmology technologies can find the perfect synergy with Second Sight, the company that offers the first treatment for blindness. Leading ophthalmologists in the north of Europe can now refer to Oogziekenhuis Zonnestraal Amsterdam and offer the benefit of Argus II to their patients. "

-Press release end-

About Oogziekenhuis Zonnestraal:

Oogziekenhuis Zonnestraal has specialised in ophthalmology for more nine years. With eleven locations in the Netherlands, it is the largest national provider of eye care. Oogziekenhuis Zonnestraal's rapid growth is compelling evidence that patients choose it for the quality of its care. The number of patients with eye problems reporting to one of its hospital locations is growing annually. In 2013 the hospital expects to surpass 200,000 patient visits. The entire organisation is prepared to meet this increased demand for specialist and standard eye care. Oogziekenhuis Zonnestraal's legal form and its patient-oriented culture provide space to continuously invest in technical improvements and innovation. Oogziekenhuis Zonnestraal's vision 'healthy eyes contribute to quality of life', underscores its ambition to continually improve the quality of eye care for its patients. For more information see

About the Second Sight Retinal Prosthesis System:

The system works by converting video images captured by a miniature camera, housed in the patient’s glasses, into a series of small electrical pulses that are transmitted wirelessly to an array of electrodes on the surface of the retina. These pulses are intended to stimulate the retina’s remaining cells resulting in the corresponding perception of patterns of light in the brain. Patients then learn to interpret these visual patterns thereby regaining some visual function. Six of the first 60 patients were implanted with a first generation Argus I system, that was attached to an electronic implant inserted invasively in the skull behind the ear with a wire connecting to the eye under the skin. The last 55 patients have received the second generation Argus II system, which is much less invasive and is implanted only in and around the eye. Second Sight gained European approval (CE Mark) for the Argus II system in 2011 – the first and only approval of a retinal prosthesis anywhere in the world. In February 2013, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Argus II.

About Second Sight:

Second Sight Medical Products Inc., located in Los Angeles, California, was founded in 1998 to create a retinal prosthesis to provide sight to patients blinded from outer retinal degenerations, such as RP. Through dedication and innovation, Second Sight's mission is to develop, manufacture and market implantable visual prosthetics to enable blind individuals to achieve greater independence. European Headquarters are in Lausanne, Switzerland. For more information, go to


Second Sight Medical Products

Maura Arsiero, PhD

Tel: +41 21 693 91 51

Mobile: +41 76 570 88 70