Science & Technology

World’s first bionic eye implant a success, says report

The surgery brings hope to people suffering from age-related blindness

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Thursday 13 August 2015
Representative picture
Representative picture Representative picture

An 80-year-old patient has received the world’s first successful bionic eye implant. The four-hour surgery was performed by surgeons from the University of Manchester, UK, last month.

Ray Flynn, 80, who suffered from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), was operated upon by a team led by Paulo Stanga, says a news report published by the university on July 21.

Flyn’s ailment is not painful, but it impairs the central vision. The patient is only left with peripheral vision and has difficulty in reading, driving and recognising faces. Over 500,000 people in the UK suffer from the condition.

Flyn was fitted with a device to convert video images from a miniature camera installed in his glasses. The device was activated on July 1.

“The technology works by turning the images captured by the camera into small electrical pulses. These are transmitted wirelessly to electrodes on the retina surface where they stimulate the remaining cells and replicate the patterns of light for the brain. Over time, Mr Flynn will learn to interpret these patterns and regain vision,” reads the university’s news report.

“The dry form of AMD is a common, but untreatable condition. In the western world, it is the leading cause of sight loss. Unfortunately, with an ageing population, it is becoming more common," the report quotes Stanga.

“Mr Flynn’s progress is truly remarkable,” he says, according to the report. “He is seeing the outline of people and objects very effectively.”

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