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Bionic eye man can see beloved United

A partially-sighted pensioner has had his central vision restored for the first time in nearly a decade after he received a "bionic eye".

Ray Flynn (80), from Manchester, is the world's first patient with advanced dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to undergo the procedure.

The retired engineer, who has peripheral vision, is also believed to be the first human to have the use of combined natural and artificial sight.

Mr Flynn has experienced deteriorating central vision for the past eight years, which has affected his quality of life, but is now looking forward to a clearer view of his beloved Manchester United on television.


AMD is the most common cause of sight loss in the developed world, with between 20 and 25 million sufferers worldwide.

Mr Flynn is affected by dry AMD, which does not affect his outer vision but is untreatable.

The Argus II retinal implant that he received last month at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital in a four-hour procedure has already been successfully used worldwide on 130 patients with the rare eye disease retinitis pigmentosa (RP). However those patients, unlike Mr Flynn, had no peripheral vision.

Developed by Second Sight Medical Products, it works by converting video images captured by a miniature camera housed in the patient's glasses into a series of small electrical pulses that are transmitted wirelessly to electrodes on the surface of the retina.

These pulses stimulate the retina's remaining cells, resulting in the corresponding perception of patterns of light in the brain.

The patient then learns to interpret these visual patterns to regain some visual function.

Mr Flynn said he is taking things slowly as he gets used to the system, but is already benefiting in his everyday life.