Retinal Prothesis

Friday, March 6, 2015 - 2:00pm
Fung Auditorium, Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall
Mark S. Humayun

Cornelius J. Pings Chair in Biomedical Sciences
Director of the Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics
University of Southern California

Retinal Prothesis


Through the convergence of ophthalmology and biomedical engineering, Dr. Humayun led a team of multidisciplinary researchers in the development of the first FDA approved retinal prosthesis, Argus II. This device is intended to restore useful vision for people suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic condition that leads to retinal blindness. The most recent results from the Argus II retinal Prosthesis ( NCT00407602) and new results from post market/commercial patients will be presented. The subjects of the clinical trials implanted with a Second Sight Argus II implant had severe outer retinal degenerations. In the clinical trial, visual function was evaluated by visual function tests presented on an LCD screen, including Square Localization, Direction of Motion, and Grating Visual Acuity. Assessments of functional vision included controlled Orientation and Mobility (O&M) tasks, and the Functional Low-Vision Observer Rated Assessment (FLORA). With 150 cumulative patient-years of clinical trial follow-up on 30 clinical trial subjects, this is the largest study of a visual prosthesis to date. The results confirm previous reports on the ability of the Argus II prosthesis to provide visual function and functional vision over several years of chronic device use. The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System is commercially available in the US and Europe, and in the post-market setting has shown improved safety and required shorter surgical implantation time.


Dr. Humayun’s research focuses at the intersection of Engineering and Medicine on the development of biomimetic bioelectronics for medical applications with a special focus on ophthalmological and neurological diseases. He is a member of the National Academies of Engineering and the National Academies Institute of Medicine. He is an IEEE Fellow. He was named inventor of the year in 2005 by R&D Magazine. He is also recognized as one of the Best Doctors in the country and in 2011 US News and World report listed him in the top 1% of Ophthalmologists.

Dr. Humayun is the founding director of the NSF ERC Biomimetic Microelectronic Systems Engineering Research Center. He has more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, authored more than 20 book chapters and is listed as an inventor on more than 100 patents/patents applications. His work has led to the formation of multiple start-up companies. He is recognized internationally as the inventor of an artificial bioelectronic retina to restore sight to the blind.