England’s National Health Service (NHS) has announced coverage approval for Second Sight’s Argus II Retinal Prosthesis system for patients with severe visual impairment from retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
Argus II will be funded via the Commissioning through Evaluation (CtE) program, a program designed for treatments that show significant promise for the future. Argus II is already reimbursed under a similar ‘coverage with evidence development’ program in France called ‘Forfait Innovation’.
The coverage decision follows recommendation from physicians at Moorfields Eye Hospital and Manchester Royal Eye Hospital who have evaluated the benefits of the device for more than five years. The two hospitals will serve as implantation centres, providing follow-up, rehabilitation and support for patients receiving the Argus II implant.
“For patients with RP who have profound vision loss, the long-term benefits of the Argus II in restoring some useful vision may be life-changing,” said Professor Lyndon da Cruz, MD, PhD, a consultant retinal surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital. “Perhaps most exciting is the potential ability of the Argus II to increase patients’ functional vision. With the Argus II, some patients can perform tasks that would not be possible without the device. Our work at Moorfields has shown that these changes last for many years after implantation for some patients and represent a stable, effective treatment for them.”
mivision’s lead story focuses on a bionic eye under development in Australia, which uses diamond technology. See page 24.