Tuesday 20 February 2018

Pensioner first in world to get bionic eye to cure blindness

Pensioner Raymond Flynn with the equipment
Pensioner Raymond Flynn with the equipment

Sarah Knapton in London

A British pensioner has become the first person in the world to be fitted with a bionic eye to fix the most common form of blindness in an operation which offers hope to hundreds of thousands of people.

Ray Flynn (80) has been unable to recognise faces since he developed Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) eight years ago.

But in June he was fitted with an electrical implant that sends a video feed to the undamaged cells in his retina from a tiny camera attached to his glasses, effectively restoring his sight.

The development marks a breakthrough for advanced dry AMD, an illness which affects the sight of about 500,000 people in the UK and for which there is currently no treatment.

Although doctors are looking for more test subjects, the bionic eye could eventually be available for NHS patients following the breakthrough by scientists at Manchester University.

Advanced dry AMD is the biggest cause of sight loss, with sufferers losing their ability to see in the centre of their field of vision, making it difficult to read and recognise faces.

The bionic eye has already been used successfully for people suffering the condition retinitis pigmentosa, but had not been adapted to treat AMD.

Its success means Mr Flynn can not only recognise the faces of his family and watch television in more detail, but while wearing the special video glasses he can even see with his eyes shut.

He is the first person in the world to have both artificial and natural vision combined. (© Daily Telegraph, London)


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