10 people with a hereditary disease that causes blindness have been selected to test a new “bionic eye.” The disease that affects these 10 people is passed down through families, and destroys light sensing cells in the retina. It gradually leads to blindness. The bionic eye is a retinal implant that interprets images using a tiny video camera worn on a pair of glasses. The 10 people who have been selected to test these glasses will be monitored throughout the year, to see how well the bionic eyes work and how it impacts their lives.
One user, after putting on the bionic eye, was able to see letters for the first time in his adult life. He was also now able to “tell when my grandchildren run towards me and make out lights twinkling on christmas trees.”
The bionic eye works by receiving visual information from a miniature camera, and then converted to electrical pulses to be transmitted to electrodes on the retina. The electrodes stimulate the few remaining light cells, which then get sent to the brain. This new bionic eye can prove to change the life of everybody affected by this illness, and is an important new gadget.