Bionic artificial eye - good news for Blind

May 04 ,2012 12:26 PM
Bionic artificial eye - good news for Blind

A bionic eye is a blessing in disguise for those of them affected by retinitis pigmentosa - an incurable condition that leads to blindness. Medical studies say that the condition which leads to the deficiency of the eye affects nearly 3,000-4,000 people. It like a Steve Spielberg fiction thriller when the people who have suffered from this condition, are able to see after being blind for long time. The surgeons at UK have proved that this unique feat is possible as per the news quoted in the daily mail. One of the patients post surgery proclaims, 'I've dreamed in color for the first time in 20 years.'

Successful eye implant surgeries in the UK have given hope to the visually impaired. A pioneering bionic eye is a microchip that has 1,500 light sensitive pixels which take over the function of the retina’s photoreceptor rods and cones. This allows the person to discriminate images. The device, made by Retina Implant AG of Germany, connects to a wireless power supply buried behind the ear. This is connected to an external battery unit via a magnetic disc on the scalp. The user can alter the sensitivity of the device using switches on the unit.  Bionic is a term that refers to the use of engineered materials to stimulate, improve or to replace bodily functions.

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The trial on two patients with the micro-chip did yield positive results say the surgeons. One of the patients Chris James (54), terms it as a `magic moment’ after a decade of darkness. `After a decade of darkness, there was a sudden explosion of bright light-like a flash bulb going off,’ he says. Surgeons say that the Vision expected to improve further as 3mm chip 'beds in’.

Another patient Robin Miller (60) who was a musical composer  and played an active part in the Sade’s Diamond life album exclaimed, ‘I have even dreamt in very vivid colour for the first time in 25 years so a part of my brain which had gone to sleep has woken up! I feel this is incredibly promising and I’m happy to be contributing to this legacy.’ He added, `since switching on the device I am able to detect light and distinguish the outlines of objects.’

Dr Tim Jackson, a consultant retinal surgeon at King’s College Hospital and Robert MacLaren, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Oxford and a consultant retinal surgeon at the Oxford Eye Hospital, who are running the trial, say it has ‘exceeded expectations’ with patients already regaining ‘useful vision’. The pair feels that this is an important milestone in Ophthalmology. And more is in store as research improves in the near future.

This has given live hope for nearly 20,000 suffering from this condition in the UK alone. The Doctors said that ten more patients from UK will be implanted with the chips. Trials are being conducted in Germany and China also.  (With Inputs from Internet- Aarkay)

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