A 72-year-old woman in Hawaii, who was blinded by a hereditary eye disease two years ago, received a bionic eye implant last week that will partially restore her vision. She is the first person in Asia-Pacific to receive a bionic eye implant.
The woman underwent the four-hour procedure last Tuesday at the Hawaii Eye Surgery Center in Honolulu. The bionic eye implant is currently only able to restore partial vision. After she recovers from the surgery, the woman will be able to detect motion, and eventually she will be able to see up to nine colors.
The bionic eye implant, officially known as the Argus II Retinus Prosthesis System (Argus II), aims to restore the eye’s ability to convert images to electrical impulses. During the eye implant surgery, the eyeball is attached to a bionic case with an electronic array that’s implanted underneath the retina. The patient will have to wear bionic glasses with a camera attached. As the camera captures images, a video-processing chip within a handheld unit then converts these images to electronic pulses.
These signals are then sent back to the glasses, and the pulses relayed to a receiver on the eyeball. The receiver then transmits the pulses to the electronic array, which then uses these pulses to stimulate the optic nerve and send information to the brain.
The woman was blinded by Retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that causes the retinal rod cells and cone cells to degenerate. These cells are responsible for receiving light and converting them into electrical impulses that are then sent to the brain.
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