The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System can now be offered at the Duke Eye Center, a division of Duke University Medical Center. The device is already being used in Europe on patients who have a specific type of retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative disease that eventually leads to blindness.

The device includes a small video camera that is mounted on eyeglasses, a small computer to process the video, a receiver that latches to the patient’s eyeball, and electrodes that are implanted on the patient’s retina. Because the video source on the eye glasses is in a fixed position, patients must move their heads to look around, much like an owl or many other kinds of birds.