The 73-year-old, known only as Ron, had the experimental surgery seven months ago at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital and is now able to see flashes of light, follow white lines on the road, and sort grey and black socks.
The eye known as the Argus II, which was developed by US company Second Sight, uses a miniature camera mounted on glasses to transmit images to the back of the eye.
An “artificial retina” consisting of an array of electrodes sends messages along the optic nerve to the brain.
So far 18 patients around the world have undergone the surgery as part of trials and Ron, who lost his sight in his forties due to the hereditary eye disorder retinitis pigmentosa, was one of three patients to have the device fitted at the London hospital.
As he starts to get use to the device his life will be transformed even more as he gradually learns how to use the artificial eye.
He said: ‘For 30 years I’ve seen absolutely nothing at all, it’s all been black – but now light is coming through.
‘It gives me grades of bright light to black and anything in between. I can actually sort out white socks, grey socks and black socks.’
Update, Another Bionic Eye Report
Bionic Vision Australia (BVA) has unveiled its wide-view neurostimulator concept – a prototype bionic eye that will be implanted into Australia’s first recipient of the technology. BVA says that the prototype will deliver improved quality of life for patients suffering from degenerative vision loss caused by retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. The implant, which consists of a miniature camera mounted on glasses that captures visual input, transforming it into electrical signals that directly stimulate surviving neurons in the retina, is currently undergoing testing. Says BVA, the device will enable recipients to perceive points of light in the visual field that the brain can then reconstruct into an image.