Helping The Blind To See: Medtech Start-Ups Focus On Vision Restoration
In recent years, medtech start-ups have made great strides in developing technologies to treat eye disease such as cataracts, diminishing vision, and even dry eye. But the greatest leaps – or the most life changing – may have been executed by companies such as Second Sight Medical Products Inc. and Wicab Inc. that are finding ways to actually help blind people see.
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Neuromodulation start-up Helius Medical Technologies is employing a simpler, more primal connection to send potentially therapeutic signals to the brain – the tongue. The company is entering pivotal clinical trials to test the technology in select patients with traumatic balance disorder and traumatic brain injury, and evaluating the device for use in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Second Sight secured FDA approval for the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System in 2013 and followed it with an IPO, giving the company the capital necessary to expand the commercial launch of its system to restore the vision of patients blinded by retinitis pigmentosa while also developing a new system that might restore the vision of anyone who has lost their sight to disease. An interview with CEO Robert Greenberg, MD.