Bionic Eye Trial Initial Results Looks Promising

We all have heard about Bionic Eye, with an expectation that a day will come when it will be accurate enough for people dealing with incurable eye diseases like Retinitis Pigmentosa.

A doctor and his team is hoping the same with a clinical trial that includes a new form of retinal implant. Yes, we are talking about an NHS funded Bionic Eye trial at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. The trial is currently having 6 patients and is going on, but the initial outcome of the trial (trial is not yet complete) on Rhian Lewis, a 49 year old women from Cardiff, looks promising to restore her vision who is blind since six years due to Retinitis Pigmentosa.

Bionic Eye

Image Credit: BBC – Oxford NHS hospitals trust
3x3mm implant

As BBC stated,

In the summer, Rhian travelled to Oxford for an operation to implant a tiny 3x3mm chip into her right eye. The device replaces the light-sensitive retinal cells in the eye, and is connected to a tiny computer that sits underneath the skin behind the ear. When it is switched on using a magnetic coil applied to the skin, signals travel to the optic nerve and then to the brain.

The chip has the resolution power of less than 1% of one megapixel, but it has the benefit of being connected to the human brain, which has over 100 billion neurons of processing power.

So, the initial results shows the following, in the words of Rhian,

There was a car, a silver car and I couldn’t believe it, because the signal was really strong and that was the sun shining on the silver car. And I was just, well, I was just so excited, I was quite teary!

They did the objects on the table and I could get them and I was so chuffed, I must have looked like a kid at Christmas! I was just locating a plate, a cup and a couple of shapes, but it was difficult because I didn’t have any co-ordination. I haven’t seen anything through that eye for so long, so I kept overshooting it a little bit – but we were getting there. I was just elated, really elated.

They did the objects on the table and I could get them and I was so chuffed, I must have looked like a kid at Christmas!

If the Bionic Eye trial goes well, the team is hoping to work it on age-related macular degeneration.

Source and Image Credit:> BBC

Complete Story:> Trust Me, I’m a Doctor on BBC2

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