Swiss vision-treatment devices maker Second Sight Medical doubly touted Medicare reimbursement coverage for its Argus II retinal prosthesis, tallying coverage in 3 nations now as the "bionic eye" technology gains more ground.
The Argus II system has had reimbursement from Italian and German healthcare regulators for 3 years now, the company noted, but U.S. approval is the feather in Second Sight’s cap.
"The reimbursement approval for the Argus II Bionic Eye in the USA proves once again how important this technology is for the patients affected with blindness from the untreatable orphan disease Retinitis Pigmentosa," French ophthalmologist and professor Dr. José-Alain Sahel said on behalf of the company. "We hope that patients in France will also be able to get access to the only FDA & CE approved treatment in the world for patients suffering from RP."
Second Sight plans to chase reimbursement in France, England, the Netherlands and other global markets, Second Sight European operations vice president Gregoire Cosendai said in prepared remarks.
The 1st-of-its-kind Argus II system is comprised of 2 main components: an eyeglass-mounted camera and an electrical stimulator implanted in the eye. The device converts images captured by the camera into a series of electrical pulses that are transmitted wirelessly to electrodes in the retina to simulate vision
FDA regulators in February approved Argus II for treating blindness due to late stage retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that leaves patients with either bare light perception or none at all. There is currently no cure for the rare condition, which is diagnosed about 250 times each year.