VISIONS 2016: Seeing is Believing

When I was asked by Second Sight to attend VISIONS this year I could not wait to get to lovely Baltimore. Not only is it a fascinating meeting to attend (check out all the exhibitors here), but it is a perfect venue to show off what Pascale works hard to do every day- demonstrate the value of Argus II.

Foundation Fighting Blindness puts VISIONS together annually in an effort to continue to to drive the research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa (RP), macular degeneration, Usher syndrome, and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases. There are speakers, lectures, luncheons with keynote speakers like the inspiring and kick-ass Dartanyon Crockett (pic below), and people come from all over the world to learn about future innovations that may help the visually impaired.

 
Above: Dartanyon Crockett with Fran Fulton (Argus II user), Duane Tsutsui (Head of Marketing at Second Sight), and Anthony Andreottola (Argus II user) at the Second Sight booth

Above: Dartanyon Crockett with Fran Fulton (Argus II user), Duane Tsutsui (Head of Marketing at Second Sight), and Anthony Andreottola (Argus II user) at the Second Sight booth

Above: Second Sight booth.

Above: Second Sight booth.

 

Second Sight invited Argus II users Anthony Andreottola and Fran Fulton to talk about their experiences with the bionic eye during their session, “Argus II Retinal Prosthesis Update: Where Are We Now?” They were joined by Doctors Gislin Dagnelie, Duane Geruschat and James Handa. The doctors gave medical background on Argus II and the users shared their perspective about what it’s like to see with artificial vision after being blind for years. They even spoke about what their recovery was like after the surgery and shared what they enjoy doing now that they have vision. You can see video of Fran and Anthony speaking about their experiences on the Second Sight Twitter account @Argus_BionicEye.

 

Sharing user perspectives (we don’t like calling them patients since they’re not receiving treatment or recovering; they’re living life!) is something the digital team at Pascale is passionate about. It’s one thing to read an article about the impressive mechanics and updates about Argus II. Yes, it’s amazing! But to hear and see what these users can do and experience with their new vision is astounding. We’ve started hashtags on Twitter for some of them- #RogersPOV, #LarrysPOV, #FransPOV and now #AnthonysPOV– so that the world can understand what it’s really like to have a bionic eye.

If you’d like to learn more about Argus II, Second Sight, user POVs, and/or read some of the great press Pascale secures for Second Sight, be sure to check them out on social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the user blog.

 

Erin LaFavor