Groundbreaking bionic retinal implant surgery has been performed in Honolulu by a team at the Eye Surgery Center of Hawaii. The procedure is the first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region to help restore vision for the blind.

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The Argus II “bionic eye implant has the potential to restore vision to patients, who have been in total or near total darkness.”

The team of doctors, led by Dr. Gregg T. Kokame, completed the cutting-edge procedure on March 24, 2015. Dr. Mark Humayun, Prof. of Ophthalmology at the University of Southern California (USC) Eye Institute, Los Angeles, CA and the co-inventor of the Argus II implant was also present for this historic event.

The Eye Surgery Center of Hawaii is an ophthalmology specialty surgery center and a portfolio company of SKAI Ventures that is focused exclusively on the surgical treatment of the eye in Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region. There are presently eighteen eye surgeons who perform ophthalmologic surgeries at the center.

Dr. Kokame, founder and president of Retina Consultants of Hawaii, and the president of the Eye Surgery Center of Hawaii says:

Today is a historical day for many reasons. This ‘bionic eye’ implant has the potential to restore vision to patients, who have been in total or near total darkness. This can dramatically change the quality of life of these patients.”

“I have been involved in the care of hereditary blindness since the beginning of my career in Ophthalmology at the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute,” he adds. “I have watched patients progressively lose vision, but this new futuristic technology is now available to allow potential vision recovery to patients who are functionally blind.”

“We are excited to bring this life-changing technology to Hawaii residents and to the Asia-Pacific region,” comments Dr. Hank Wuh, CEO of SKAI Ventures. “As the leading center of excellence for vision surgery, we hope to help people with retinal blindness throughout the region.”

The “bionic eye,” known officially as the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System (Argus II), is the world’s first approved device intended to restore some functional vision for people suffering from blindness. The Argus II, developed at USC, has shown dramatic clinical results to help patients with retinal blindness be able to utilize artificial vision to see.

Argus II is approved for use in the United States and the European Economic Area and is available in European countries and the Middle East.

The implantation of the Argus II novel vision-restoring device at the Eye Surgery Center of Hawaii is the first time the procedure has been performed in the Asia-Pacific region. The Eye Surgery Center of Hawaii is also only the second center in the western US to perform the procedure – the first being USC.

Argus II headband and Argus II glasses.
Image credit: Second Sight

The doctors have scheduled more artificial retinal bionic implant transplants at the Eye Surgery Center of Hawaii.

Patients with blindness from retinitis pigmentosa, who are interested in being evaluated for this procedure, should contact Dr. Gregg Kokame’s office at 808-487-8928 or email inquiries to

Patients from the Asia-Pacific region interested in bionic retina transplantation should contact SKAI Ventures Concierge Program at or 808-949-2208 ext. 129.

Medical News Today recently reported that a blind man affected by a degenerative condition known as retinitis pigmentosa is now able to see objects and people again with the help of a bionic eye implant.