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Wednesday / May 18.
HomeminewsBionic Eye Now in Sight

Bionic Eye Now in Sight

An Englishman who lost his sight 30 years ago has told the BBC that he can now see flashes of light after being fitted with a bionic eye.

Ron, 73, had the experimental surgery seven months ago at London’s Moorfield’s eye hospital. He says he can now follow white lines on the road, and even sort socks, using the bionic eye, known as Argus II which uses a camera and video processor mounted on sunglasses to send captured images wirelessly to a tiny receiver on the outside of the eye.

In turn, the receiver passes on the data via a tiny cable to an array of electrodes which sit on the retina – the layer of specialised cells that normally respond to light found at the back of the eye.

When these electrodes are stimulated they send messages along the optic nerve to the brain, which is able to perceive patterns of light and dark spots corresponding to which electrodes have been stimulated. The hope is that patients will learn to interpret the visual patterns produced into meaningful images.

Ron told the BBC: “for 30 years I’ve seen absolutely nothing at all, it’s all been black, but now light is coming through. Suddenly to be able to see light again is truly wonderful. I can actually sort out white socks, grey socks and black socks.

“My one ambition at the moment is to be able to go out on a nice, clear evening and be able to pick up the moon.”

Consultant retinal surgeon Lyndon da Cruz, who carried out Ron’s operation said the patients were starting to get meaningful visual stimuli from the technology.

“We are very encouraged by the trial’s progress so far. The implants have been stable and functioning for six months, with consistent visual perceptions generated by the device.

“The trial remains inspiring in terms of presenting a very real and tangible step forward in treating patients with total vision loss, but with more than two years of the trial left to run, these are early days and continued testing will be crucial in determining the success of the new technology,” said Lyndon da Cruz.

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