Pre-bionic Eye Successfully Implanted to Restore Lost Vision in Human

September 3, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Science and technology is developing at a rapid pace. It has helped us overcome many challenges in everyday life.

But some sorts of blindness were still a tough corner with no solutions at all. Now Australian researchers have reportedly became successful in implanting a pre-bionic eye in a blind patient, indicating that blindness also may be tackled in the future.

The pre-bionic eye fitted to the patient – Ms. Dianne Ashworth – reportedly was a prototype with 24 electrodes with its retinal implant.

Dubbed ‘a connector behind the ear’, there is a small unit which is connected to the retinal implant with the help of a small wire.

The whole unit is then connected to an external system in the laboratory which helps the researchers to give stimuli to the implant in a controlled way to assess the impact and the way in which the brain is interpreting the signals from the pre-bionic eye.

The patient was suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, an eye disorder which damages the retina causing loss of vision. Though the pre-bionic eye was not able to restore the lost vision of the patient, it did make a difference from complete blindness.

According to the patient, when the researchers stimulated the implant, she was able to see a flash in front of her eyes giving her the sense of different shapes.

Members of Bionic Vision Australia (BVA), an organization of vision researchers who developed the prototype of the eye, think that they can study how brain interprets the information from the retinal implant by studying the consistency of the shapes sensed by the patient.

BVA expects to develop a working bionic eye by 2020.

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