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Artificial Retina Market Overview
The artificial retina market is primarily driven by the increasing developments associated with sub retinal implants for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Sub retinal implants are placed behind the retina and have proven to be safe and restore useful vision to a majority of patients who are blind because of RP. Artificial retina is an implant which consists of an array of microelectrodes and is used for the individuals who are visually impaired due to retinal diseases. The progress of artificial retina is to restore limited vision that enables people to read during mobility and to recognize individuals. Artificial retina has proved to be a breakthrough invention for the medical device industry, as it has provided hope to a large number of visually impaired patients globally.
Retinal implants hold the promise of restoring vision with tiny prosthetic devices that capture light, convert it into electrical signals and then stimulate the neurons in the retina so that the brain can form an image. Retinal implants are used to treat AMD and RP and are generally used in multi-specialty hospitals, ophthalmic clinics, and research institutes.
The device is made up of carbon nanotube biomimetic film with accessories such as a transmitter and a video processing unit. The global artificial retina market witnessed its first major breakthrough in 2013 with the approval of Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA). It is a first implant device used to treat patients with RP. Various conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and RP, which influence many individuals around the world, destroy the photodetector cells in the retina and make vision worsen over time.
Artificial Retina Market Dynamics
Growth Drivers and Restraints
Increase in the prevalence of visually impaired patients, growing healthcare expenditure, rising government investment in R&D for artificial retina, and rise in geriatric population are the key factors driving the artificial retina market, globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Prevention of Blindness and Deafness Programme, around 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide, 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision (severe or moderate visual impairment), and the top causes of the blindness are cataracts, glaucoma and AMD.
The artificial retina market is expected to be further driven by joint collaboration of medical device companies with government initiated project. For instance, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Artificial Retina Project is one such initiative by the U.S. government to develop artificial retina for the visually impaired population. The ongoing advancements in the artificial retina industry by various scientists to provide vision to blind patients is expected to support the growth of the market. However, there are several such as patent related issues, stringent regulatory approval processes, and high cost of products are restraining the growth of the market.
The growing market for retinal implants is helping several start-ups to invest in this sectors as this a very lucrative segment due to increasing retinal diseases. Moreover, several reimbursement policies are being provided for surgeries of retinal implant. For instance, Retina Implant AG, based in Reutlingen, Germany, is focused on sub retinal implant technology. The company claims to be the first to have a fully functioning electronic retinal prosthesis to restore partial sight to the blind. Also, in March, 2016, the company secured a 28.2 million (€26 million) financing to establish clinical centers globally and to pursue reimbursement for its CE marked Alpha IMS sub retinal microchip.
Artificial Retina Insights by Geography
North America is expected to lead the global artificial retina market throughout the forecast period, followed by Europe. This is mainly due to strong healthcare infrastructure and high expenditure in R&D in these regions. The healthcare industry in North America is undergoing major transformation following the implementation of various healthcare reforms. Moreover, the region is home to over 10 million visually impaired population seeking effective treatment.
Asia-Pacific is expected to emerge as the next big market for industry players. The region is home to over 55% of the global visually impaired population. The rate of RP is highest in Asia-Pacific compared to other regions. Economic development and increasing government support in countries such as India are projected to boost the growth of the Asia-Pacific market.
Artificial Retina Competitive Landscape
The players in artificial retina market are in the process of receiving the CE approval for the artificial retinal implants. For instance, in September 2017, Pixium Vision, announced that it has received CE approval from European Medicines Agency (EMA) on its epi-retinal IRISII system, for outer retinal degeneration, including Retinitis Pigmentosa. Before that, in March 2016, Retina Implant AG, received CE certification for its RETINA IMPLANT Alpha AMS subretinal implant, which can restore part of the sight of blind people suffering from RP. A shorter than expected lifespan of the device was noticed in this set of patients. This presents no risk to the patients with retinal implants, since the innovative exchangeable design of IRISII allows for a replacement of the device. A first replacement was already completed successfully during the clinical study.
Some of the key players operating in the artificial retina industry include Nano Retina, Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., Optobionics, Aetna Inc., Pixium Vision, Retina Implant AG and Bionic Vision Technologies Pty Ltd.
By Type of Retinal Implant
By Disease Indication
By End User