Venture Capital Dispatch blog of the Wall Street Journal reported that two companies are working on vision systems to help some blind people see again.
Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. based in Sylmar, Calif. is developing special eyeglasses that transmit pictures to a receiver embedded on the retina. The images are transferred by the optic nerve to the brain. The device is targeted to patients who have lost most of their vision as a result of retinal degeneration and whose nerve connections are still intact.
Israel's Nano Retina Inc. is also developing a similar device. The devices are priced from $50,000 to $100,000. Both companies are now working with insurance companies to have them pick up the costs for patients in need of such devices.
A third company, Optobionics Corp is pursuing a trickier and more costly approach: restoring function to the damaged retina by using the device to stimulate the rods and cones, rather than using the system as an adjunct to the retina. They are looking for funds to enter Phase III trials.