Blind man can now see the light with ‘bionic eyes’

March 5, 2009

(ChattahBox) — A man fitted with ‘bionic eyes’ can see light for the first time in 30 years, the BBC reports. Identified only as Ron, the 73-year-old man had the experimental surgery seven months ago at London’s Moorfield’s eye hospital and has made good progress since.

He says he can now follow white lines on the road, and even sort socks, using the bionic eye, known as Argus II. Ron who lost his sight in his 40s due to retinitis pigmentosa now has the ability to see flashes of colored light and dark.

While the BBC hails the Argus II prosthetic—made by Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., in Sylmar, Calif.—as a “bionic eye,” it’s actually a wireless communication system implanted in the damaged eye that captures images and relays them to the brain.

It uses a camera and video processor mounted on eyeglasses to send captured images wirelessly to a tiny receiver on the outside of the eye. The video processor converts the images to an electronic signal, a transmitter on the glasses sends that information wirelessly to a receiver attached to the surface of the eye. The information is then sent through a tiny cable to an electrode array implanted in the retina, stimulating it to emit electrical pulses. These pulses trigger signals in the retina that travel through the optic nerve to the brain, which perceives patterns of light and dark spots that correspond to the electrodes stimulated.

The treatment is part of an international trial carried out by Second Sight, and he is one of 18 patients across the world who are taking part in the experiment.


One Response to “Blind man can now see the light with ‘bionic eyes’”

  1. Paul R Wilson on March 5th, 2009 7:28 pm

    Wow ! This MIGHT have helped my mother, but she died in 2007 at 93. Soon they’ll replace organic eyes that quit on their owners. Probably some religious crackpots who belong to the “One,True Church” will object wildly, but I’m all for it !

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