President Barack Obama awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation to ophthalmologist Mark Humayun, M.D., Ph.D., of the USC Roski Eye Institute Thursday afternoon. Dr. Humayun is being recognized for his pioneering work on the Argus II retinal prosthesis, a device shown to restore functional vision to those blinded by the condition retinitis pigmentosa. The technology was FDA approved in 2013 and is now being evaluated for use on patients with age-related macular degeneration, now the leading cause of blindness in the United States and Western Europe.
“Dr. Mark Humayun is a gifted clinician and a profoundly impactful investigator. His sustained pursuit of one of the Holy Grails of ophthalmology—to generate a sense of vision where none naturally exists—has changed forever our options in managing some forms of retinal blindness,” said David W. Parke, II, M.D., CEO of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “The profession is proud of his accomplishments and delighted that they have been nationally recognized and celebrated.”
Read the latest three-year clinical study on Argus II from the journal Ophthalmology, the official scientific journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (August 2015)
About the Medal
The National Medal of Technology and Innovation was created by statute in 1980 and is administered for the White House by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Patent and Trademark Office. The award recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to America’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the Nation’s technological workforce. A distinguished independent committee representing the private and public sectors submits recommendations to the President.
Photo: Ryan K. Morris – National Science & Technology Medals Foundation