Artificial retina: New tech could allow the blind to see

(CBS News) In a major milestone for the blind, the Federal Drug Administration has approved a new medical device that could help some people regain part of their sight

"It's huge. It's like night and day. They'll be able to see, like somebody put the lights on in a room," Dr. Robert Cykiert, an ophthalmologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, said on "CBS This Morning" Friday.

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"This new technology would help 100,000 people and could really improve their quality of life. They're not be able to read fine print clearly, but they'll be able to walk down the street without bumping into lamp posts and cars, and possibly cross the street."

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Cykiert says that the mechanism behind the device is quite interesting, but currently it's only for people with retinitis pigmentosa. However, it could available for people with many kinds of vision loss in the future.

"Basically people wear glasses that have a video camera attached to it," he said. "The camera picks up the signal, sends the message through to the eye, into electrodes implanted into the eye and then it's connected directly into their brain."

Unfortunately, the technology, like all new devices, is very expensive and can cost patients around $150,000. Cykiert is hopeful that the cost will come down and insurance companies will start covering the device in coming years.

For Dr. Cykiert's full report, watch the video in the player above

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