FDA likely to say no to bionic eye

LiveScience.com recently posted this article about the FDA’s refusal to approve a bionic eye. I changed the headline to indicate the FDA is likely to say no. Here’s why:

In the 1970s TV show “The Six Million Dollar Man,” the strapping young astronaut got a bionic eye. A U.S. company had hoped that next year that might be your grandmother. Not so fast, a federal advisory panel said Friday.

A tiny telescope designed to be implanted in the eyes of some elderly patients should not receive Food and Drug Administration approval, the panel recommended on a 10-3 vote.

Later in the article:

The FDA typically follows the recommendations of its outside panels of experts, but isn’t required to do so.

So it is likely the bionic eye will be rejected, but it isn’t a final decision yet. Now, on to the story of the eye.

The first-of-its-kind device is called the Implantable Miniature Telescope. The telephoto lens could enable some patients to do away with the special glasses and handheld telescopes they now use to compensate for the loss in central vision caused by age-related macular degeneration, according to VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies Inc., its manufacturer.

. . .

The device is designed to be implanted only in one eye, which would provide central vision. The other eye, left untouched, would be responsible for peripheral vision, leaving the brain to combine the two views to form a single image. Getting used to that could require patients to undergo professional rehabilitation, the FDA said.

The surgery to implant the telescope is more difficult than conventional cataract surgery and can lead to damage to the inside of the cornea, according to the company. Patients also may experience a higher rate of loss of cells lining the cornea, which can require removal of the device and a cornea transplant.

In clinical trials, 141 of 193 patients implanted with the device showed after a year improved distance and near visual acuity, defined as the sharpness of vision in reading an eye chart, according to FDA documents. Ten patients reported a loss in acuity in either distance or near vision. Doctors removed eight of the devices, four of them from patients dissatisfied with how they worked, FDA documents show.

And more at the above link. And as a co-worker pointed out, that annoying sound whenever you use the bionics would probably drive people crazy. More so than everything slowing down around you when using a bionic leg.

[tags]Bionic eye, FDA[/tags]