DOE Artificial Retina Project

Archive Site Provided for Historical Purposes

Funding for this work ended in FY 2011.

FDA Approves Argus II

Fundus image of an implanted microelectrode array
A fundus image of an implanted Argus™ II microelectrode array.

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Artificial Retina Project was a collaborative, multi-institutional effort to develop an implantable microelectronic retinal prosthesis that restores useful vision to people blinded by retinal diseases. The ultimate goal of the project was to restore reading ability, facial recognition, and unaided mobility in people with retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.

The project tapped into the unique research technologies and resources developed at DOE national laboratories to surmount the many technical challenges involved with developing a safe, effective, and durable product. The research team included six DOE national laboratories, four universities, and private industry.

Three models were in development or testing. Model 1, with 16 electrodes, was implanted in six patients. As of mid-July 2009, a second model integrating a 60-electrode array had been implanted in 30 human subjects domestically and internationally.

Clinical testing of the devices was supported by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health and others.

DOE funding for this work ended in FY 2011.


The Artificial Retina Project was part of the
Biological and Environmental Research Program
of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science
Funding for this work ended in FY 2011.

DOE Office of Science

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Last modified: Thursday, May 17, 2018