British Man Becomes First Bionic Eye Miracle

British Man Becomes First Bionic Eye Miracle

Second Sight have been working on their Argus II vision technology for years. Early prototypes are on display in the Science Museum in London. And now, they've finally achieved their dream of restoring vision to those who have lost it through the common disease of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). 

British man Ray Flynn, 80, has just become a world first by being fitted with a bionic eye system. Although Rays eyesight hadn't completely gone, he hasn't been able to distinguish faces or watch TV 
since developing AMD 8 years ago. Until now. 

In June 2015, he underwent an operation in Manchester to have an electrical implant fitted inside his eyeball. Now it's settled in, he wear special glasses fitted with a tiny camera, which sends 
a video feed directly to the undamaged cells in his retina. The result of this is that when wearing the glasses, he can even see with his eyes shut! It's the ultimate combination of natural and computer vision, because it still uses his normal retinal cells to process the video feed. The eyeball implant converts the video signal to electrical impulses, which are wirelessly transferred to electrodes on the surface of the retina, at the back of the eyeball. These pulses stimulate retinal cells, resulting in the corresponding perception of patterns of light in the brain. The patient then learns to interpret these visual patterns to regain vision.

When the bionic vision system was first switched on, he could make out the outlines of people and objects and now it's easier for him to watch television and recognise his family members. It's thought that his vision will continue to improve as his brain figures out how best to process and optimise the signals.

Trials are continuing and it's hoped the technology will now go on to help thousands of others with similar vision problems. In the UK alone, half a million people have AMD - it's the leading cause of sight loss in the developed world.

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