New bionic eye helps restore partial sight in six blind patients through brain imaging. Vision was returned partially by using a video camera attached to glasses linked to electrodes implanted into their brains visual cortex.
The Orion glasses work by bypassing the patients eyes and damaged optic nerves and projecting footage to the brain. Alex Shortt from Optegra Eye Hospital said that the implants were a huge development.
In the past any attempts to create a new bionic eye focused on implanting into the eye itself and required a functioning eye and optic nerve.
“by bypassing the eye completely you open the potential up to many, many more people.” Shortt said
According to the surgeon, this is a complete paradigm shift for treating complete blindness and is hopeful.
Specialists from Baylor College of medicine in Texas are doing further research with the University of California. The technology has not yet been tested on people with complete blindness. the US team have asked patients with complete blindness to look at a blacked-out computer screen and find the white square on the monitor. They are able to do so wearing the glasses.
Benjamin Spencer lost his sight at a young age and has been totally blind all his life. He is able to see a window or doorway when wearing the glasses. Paul Phillip is another patient that has been blind for a decade and is able to enjoy evening walks with his wife as he sees the grass and pavements.
“it really is amazing to be able to see something even if it just points of light for now”
Daniel Yosher is a neurosurgeon who leads the study and believes that his team are still a far way from reaching what they hope to achieve.
“this is an exciting time in neuroscience and neurotechnology, and I feel that within my lifetime we can restore functional sight to the blind.