Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

US man hails sight via 'bionic eye'

Dr Thiran Jayasundera looks at Roger Pontzs implanted 'bionic eye' at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Centre (AP)

A few patients who have lost their sight due to a rare disorder are regaining some vision thanks to a 'bionic eye' procedure performed at the University of Michigan.

The Ann Arbor school's Kellogg Eye Centre is the first such facility in the US to implant an artificial retina since the US Food and Drug Administration signed off on it last year.

Four such surgeries have been performed and a fifth is scheduled for next month.

One such patient, Roger Pontz, said it was "priceless" and "awesome". Dr Thiran Jayasundera said it was "a game-changer" for people who have lost all vision.

The 'bionic eye' system includes a small video camera and transmitter mounted on a pair of glasses.

Images from the camera are processed into electronic data that is wirelessly transmitted to electrodes implanted into the patient's retina.

The surgery gives people with retinitis pigmentosa the ability to see shadows and shapes.

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