An 80-year-old U.K. man is the first person with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to successfully receive a bionic eye implant—an operation that will allow him to regain some visual function.
Ray Flynn from Manchester, U.K. had the four-hour procedure conducted last month at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital.
The bionic eye implant, referred to as the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System (Argus II), was conducted as part of an ongoing study to assess its effectiveness in patients suffering from AMD.
The device was created by Second Sight, a visual prosthetics manufacturer, and it works by converting images captured by a small camera into small electrical pulsations (the mini camera is mounted on a pair of glasses worn by the user).
The electrical pulses are transmitted to electrodes and implemented in the retina. The electrodes stimulate the remaining cells of the retina and replicate light patterns that are then sent to the brain. The patient learns to decrypt these patterns, resulting in some visual function being restored.
For Mr. Flynn, the device was activated two weeks after the initial procedure. In the initial test, Mr. Flynn had to close his eyes while the small camera captured patterns of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines on a computer screen. He was able to positively detect the patterns and his vision has subsequently improved.
The team hopes that Argus II can help more patients who suffer from dry AMD.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Walsh, F., “Bionic eye implant world first,” BBC.com, July 21, 2015; http://www.bbc.com/news/health-33571412.
Whiteman, H., “World first: man with AMD receives bionic eye implant,” Medical News Today web site, July 22, 2015; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/297150.php.