A man in Manchester has had a unique surgical procedure for a bionic eye implant that is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. 80-year-old Ray Flynn suffers from dry age-relation macular degeneration, which causes the loss of the central vision in the eye but does not affect peripheral vision. It is one of the most common cause of blindness and researchers hope the implant will be able to restore some of the sight lost to the disorder.
During tests following the surgery, Mr. Flynn has been able to distinguish between objects as well as recognize different lines on a computer screen, providing evidence that implant is having positive results. Paulo Stanga, the man who led the four-hour operation and is carrying out the research explained: “Mr Flynn’s progress is truly remarkable, he is seeing the outline of people and objects very effectively. I think this could be the beginning of a new era for patients with sight loss.”
The bionic eye receives data in the form of video footage from a miniature camera on specially made glasses. These images are then converted into electrical signals that are fed into the patient’s retina using electrodes so that information can be sent to the brain, hopefully allowing the patient to regain some of their lost vision.
The unique medical trial is being carried out by the Manchester Clinical Research Facility and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research and Welcome Trust, an organization that attempts to develop new drugs and treatments for patients. It will be contributing the £150,000 cost for Mr. Flynn along with a further four trials.