An Australian group have restored some minimal sight to a patient through an implanted bionic eye.
The implant is connected to an external head mounted camera which sends impulses to electrodes planted underneath the retina. The patient was able to see light and dark and some shapes where she had previously seen nothing for many years.
There are currently over 10 different bionic eye projects around the world at various stages but no one to date has got much further than providing very rudimentary vision. One of the most advanced is the Argus II model in America.
Australian scientists hope to have a prototype bionic eye built and ready to test on humans within the next year.
The bionic eye which we’ve highlighted before gives hope to people suffering from various types of retinal degeneration and works by implanting 98 electrodes (pictured below) into the retina to replace the damaged cells. An image from a tiny spec mounted camera is then relayed onto the electrodes in the retina. The signal is then passed through the optic nerve to the brain to all the person wearing to see the image from the camera.
Such complex work needs high-tech equipment and the lab in New South Wales has just spent $2.5mill upgrading their equipment to carry out the delicate research.
Researchers in Australia are using cochlear ear implant technology to develop a bionic eye that could help restore the sight of millions of people who are registered blind. The technology uses electrodes on the outer wall of the eye. Clinical trials are continuing.