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Evidence to Improve Care

Retinal Prosthesis System for Advanced Retinitis Pigmentosa

Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee Recommendations

  • The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee recommends against publicly funding the Argus II retinal prosthesis system for advanced retinitis pigmentosa.

  • The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee recommends that Health Quality Ontario review the evidence for retinal prosthesis systems in 1 year to re-evaluate the clinical effectiveness.

Read the full OHTAC Recommendation report

Retinitis pigmentosa is an inherited, degenerative eye disease. People diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa slowly become blind because of the breakdown and loss of photoreceptor cells in the retina (the eye).

Many drugs have been tested to try to treat retinitis pigmentosa, but unfortunately, none have worked very well.

Approximately 4,000 patients in Ontario have some form of retinitis pigmentosa and approximately 100 to 300 patients would be eligible for the Argus II retinal prosthesis system in Ontario.

Health Quality Ontario Reviews the Retinal Prosthesis System

A new device called a retinal prosthesis is implanted inside a patient’s eye during surgery with the goal of improving eyesight. Argus II is the only retinal prosthesis system licenced by Health Canada. This review looked at how well the Argus II system works, and how safe it is for patients. It also looked at how much the Argus II system costs. The review also involved a consultation with patients to find out what it is like to have retinitis pigmentosa, and what it is like to have the Argus II implant.

Retinal Prosthesis System for Advanced Retinitis Pigmentosa: A Health Technology Assessment (PDF)
June 2016

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This topic will soon be reviewed again by Health Quality Ontario, as per the recommendation.

Health Technology Assessment at Health Quality Ontario

As part of our core function to promote health care supported by the best available evidence, we use established scientific methods to analyze the evidence for a wide range of health interventions, including diagnostic tests, medical devices, interventional and surgical procedures, health care programs and models of care. These analyses are informed by input from a range of individuals, including patients and clinical experts. The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee — a committee of the Health Quality Ontario board of directors — reviews the evidence and makes recommendations about whether health care interventions should be publicly funded or not. Draft recommendations are posted on the Health Quality Ontario website for feedback. Final recommendations are approved by our board of directors and then shared with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. For more detailed information, visit our Evidence to Improve Care pages.


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