Ophthalmology Pioneer Humayun on Second Sight’s “Moonshot” & What Tech is Next in Retina

Ophthalmology Pioneer Humayun on Second Sight’s "Moonshot" and What Tech Is Next in Retina - Eye On Innovation Article - OIS - Healthegy

Next month, Mark Humayun, MD, who teamed with Eugene De Jean, MD, to perform the experimental surgery that brought flashes of light to a patient who had been blinded by retinitis pigmentosa, will co-chair the newest Ophthalmology Innovation Summit.

The new OIS will precede the annual meeting of the American Society of Retina Specialists, where Dr. Humayun will be installed as president of the influential ophthalmology group. The day promises to unite KOLs, industry, entrepreneurs, and investors working in the retinal space.

To view the agenda for the event please visit https://ois.net/ois-asrs-2016/agenda/.

OIS Podcast spoke last week with Dr. Humayun about the event. But more important, we dove into the innovation spirit that led him to help create one of the truly revolutionary ophthalmic devices, the Argus II, which is now restoring vision of people who had been blinded by retinitis pigmentosa.

His work captured him many accolades and honors including most recently the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

Read further to understand how Dr. Humayun sees the future of “bioelectronics” in ophthalmology and what tech giants like Google, Apple, and Samsung can bring to the conversation.

Go here to listen to the Podcast.

And please join us on August 8 at our inaugural OIS@ASRS.

OIS: You called Second Sight’s first procedure a “moon shot.” With advances in technology and all the interest in retina, are we on our way to Mars? Are we going to see some even more exciting advances in the coming years?

Mark Humayun: I think this field of bioelectronics, as I call it, for ophthalmology, is very interesting. I think that how these devices work, whether it’s for a future version of the retinal prosthesis like the Second Sight prosthesis, whether it’s for an implantable drug pump. And whether it’s for even intraocular pressure measurement or some other aspects, even an electronic contact lens. You know, Google has talked about that. So I think this area of bioelectronics for ophthalmology, I believe we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg, and I think we’re going to see a lot more technology being developed in this space that will provide both personalized and precision medicine.

OIS: What is your opinion on the interest being shown by tech companies like Google? It’s obviously a fantastic company and you’d love to have their expertise in ophthalmology. But the eye is particularly challenging as Google is learning from their contact lens that was going to measure glucose levels. Is this a positive for ophthalmology, having the Apples and the Googles in the world looking at the eye?

Mark Humayun: It is a real positive for ophthalmology and eye care in general to have the big tech companies look at this space and to develop these high tech solutions. Samsung is very interested, Google is very interested, and I think we’ll see others get involved. And I think that that will bring a lot of this microelectronics and nano-electronics sensors to this space. Now of course, they have to realize that this is not an autonomously driving car type of situation. They really have to understand the biology in the space. So as long as they partner with the right people to make sure that they don’t waste their resources or get frustrated and get out of the space, I think that as long as there’s a good marriage, that I really welcome this and I look forward to more of these companies getting involved in this space.