HOUSTON (October 7, 2019) –Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center (Baylor St. Luke’s) and Baylor College of Medicine are paving the way for patients with acquired blindness to regain their vision. Dr. Daniel Yoshor, chief of neurosurgery at Baylor St. Luke’s and chair and professor of neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine, is among the researchers leading the early feasibility study of a new cortical visual prosthesis.
The Orion visual prosthetic system works in patients who were able to see at some point, but lost eyesight later in life due to an eye injury or a disease like glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. The Orion converts images captured by a miniature video camera mounted on the patient’s glasses into a series of small electrical pulses transmitted wirelessly to electrodes implanted directly on the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes visual information.
“When people think of sight, they tend to think of the eyes, but in reality, the brain plays a significant role,” said Dr. Yoshor. “Using this device, we now have the ability to activate the part of the brain that handles sight. This is an exciting breakthrough in neuroscience and neurotechnology and brings us one step closer to restoring functional sight in the blind.”
The Orion device has been surgically implanted in the brain of six patients as part of the five-year clinical study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Baylor College of Medicine, in collaboration with Second Sight Medical Products. The clinical trial – the first of its kind to gain approval from the Food and Drug Administration – supports research that Dr. Yoshor and Baylor College of Medicine neuroscientists Dr. William Bosking and Dr. Michael Beauchamp have engaged in for more than a decade.
St. Luke’s Health neurology and neurosurgery service line offers comprehensive care for a broad range of neurological conditions and brain disorders, giving hope to stroke victims and patients with some of the most debilitating diseases. Using breakthrough research and a collaborative approach, physicians at Baylor St. Luke’s continue to focus on developing new, advanced treatments, progressing the standards of healthcare and leading the way in neuroscience in Houston.
About Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center
Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is an 881-bed quaternary care academic medical center that is a joint venture between Baylor College of Medicine and St. Luke’s Health. Located in the Texas Medical Center, the hospital is the home of the Texas Heart® Institute, a cardiovascular research and education institution founded in 1962 by Denton A. Cooley, MD. The hospital was the first facility in Texas and the Southwest designated a Magnet® hospital for Nursing Excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, receiving the award five consecutive times. Baylor St. Luke’s also has three community emergency centers offering adult and pediatric care for the Greater Houston area.
About the CHI Texas Division
The CHI Texas Division, a member of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), is comprised of three markets―in Houston, St. Luke’s Health (St. Luke’s) is home to eight hospitals, eight emergency centers, Diagnostic & Treatment Center, Radiation & CyberKnife Center, and numerous Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group locations throughout Greater Houston; St. Luke’s Health Memorial (three hospitals and a long-term acute care facility in East Texas); and St. Joseph Health (five hospitals and several St. Joseph Medical Group locations across Brazos Valley). In addition, St. Luke’s flagship hospital, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in the Texas Medical Center, is a joint venture with Baylor College of Medicine. Together, St. Luke’s and Baylor College of Medicine are transforming healthcare delivery with a mission to usher in a new era of healthcare to create healthier communities. For more information, visit CHITX.org.