University of Michigan Becomes First to Implant a Bionic Eye

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The University of Michigan’s Kellogg Eye Center became the first to implant a bionic eye in January, and have since performed 3 more procedures.

The Kellogg Eye Center at the University of Michigan Health System became the first facility in the U.S. to implant a bionic eye in January, and have since performed 3 more procedures.

A bionic eye isn’t a complete replacement, as its name implies, but involves the implanting of artificial retinas.

It’s specifically intended to help patients who suffer from retinitis pigmentosa, a rare disease that causes vision to degenerate until it’s completely lost.

Over time, those affected by the anomaly experience a decline in light sensitive cells, and the implant helps compensate for their dwindling numbers.

Once inserted, the prosthesis communicates with a wireless camera that’s connected to the patient’s remaining retinal nerve fibers.

Those fibers are stimulated and the brain becomes capable of sensing light.

The vision they provide isn’t of the 20/20 variety, but it does allow the patient to discern between light and shadow to form an impression of objects.

Once outfitted, recipients of the device undergo training that helps them use the technology to its best advantage.

The University of Michigan Health System is one of 12 institutions that have been granted use of the bionic device.

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