If you have vision related condition or you know anyone who does, then you should be excited to read this article. This is amazing technology in action! It is a throwback Story you should read again and again.
Scientists stunned a family after they created bionic retina, tested it on a man who had been blind for quite a while and he was able to see his wife. It was love again at first sight for a man who had just been able to see his wife for the first time in 10 years.
The unbelievable technology promises to restore sight to people who became blind due to injury or by diseases like diabetes, glaucoma, and retinitis pigmentosa. This article by Dr. Sanjay Gupta posted on Everydayhealth provides astounding insight on the technology behind the bionic eye which is expected one day to be able to bypass the eye entirely and send signals to the brain. Read it!
Allen Zderad’s journey into blindness was long and slow. He has a severe form of retinitis pigmentosa, which steadily destroys the retina. For more than a decade he has been effectively blind, unable to see the face of his wife Carmen.
Zderad (prounounced Zayr-ad) is one of a handful of blind people in the country who agreed to try a new bionic retina that is surgically implanted inside the eye. After the surgery at the Mayo Clinic, he stood facing his wife as she walked between him and a white board. “Yes!” he shouted, “I picked you up!” As the scientists applauded, Allen and Carmen embraced each other in tears.
What Zderad sees now is nothing like what he saw before he lost his vision. The image created by the bionic retina is just 60 dots, like pixels on a TV screen or bulbs on a stadium sign. But it’s enough for him to identify shapes and edges, and to see movement. With time and with therapy, Zderad’s brain will get better at interpreting the signals from the bionic retina and translating them into vision.
The device, which was created by Second Sight, Inc., consists of three parts. The patient wears a pair of glasses with a camera in the bridge. The image from the camera is sent through a cord to a small computer that can be carried in a pocket. The computer converts the image into electronic signals, which are then sent wirelessly to the third part of the device — the bionic retina implanted inside the eye.
“It’s an array of electrodes that actually have to lay on a curved surface in the back of the eye, where the retina is,” explains Mayo Clinic eye surgeon Raymond Iezzi, MD. Those signals then travel along the optic nerve, just like the signals from a healthy retina, to the visual cortex in the brain.
Dr. Iezzi foresees a bright future for other patients who have lost their sight, not just to disease but to injury. “I would like to see this technology extended to patients who have lost their eyes,” he says. “We have soldiers who have had terrible trauma and have lost their sight. We have diabetic patients who have lost both of their eyes due to their advanced disease, or patients with advanced glaucoma.”
To help those patients the bionic retina would have to bypass the eye altogether, and send a signal directly to the brain. “I think we’re going to see that happen in our lifetime,” Dr. Iezzi says.
Source: Everyday Health
When accomplished this will definitely become one scientific breakthrough that will never cease to amaze the world.
How it started
Zderad’s story is really an emotional one. The 68-year-old retiree from Minnesota, saw his wife for the first time in more than a decade thanks to a bionic eye implanted by doctors at the Mayo Clinic earlier this month.
“Thank you,” Zderad said in the touching scene captured on video. “It’s crude but it’s significant. … It’ll work.”
“Who do you see?” His wife Carmen asked Zderad just before the two hugged each other in a long, tearful embrace.
Zderad has retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative condition that attacks the retina. There is no treatment or cure for the disease. He told ABC News his vision gradually deteriorated over a 20-year period until he was only able to sense very bright light.
After his grandson was diagnosed with the same condition last year, Zderad was recruited by the Mayo Clinic and Second Sight, the implant’s maker, to test out the device. Dr. Raymond Iezzi Jr., a Mayo Clinic researcher and ophthalmologist, performed the surgery.
The bionic eye implant sends light wave signals to the optic nerve, bypassing the damaged retina, a statement from the Mayo Clinic explained. In January, a tiny wafer-like chip was embedded in Zderad’s right eye. Two weeks later, the eyeglass-style prosthetic device was activated.
Zderad described his new-found abilities as “artificial sight.” He is able to make out shapes, forms and outlines in intermittent flashes. Everything is in black and white now, but with training and periodic upgrades over a five-year period he is confident that he will begin to see more sharply, he told ABC News.
“What an exciting, emotional thing to say that, ‘Yes, that is my wife,’” Zderad said. “I am grateful they made this as much about the person as the technology.”
What an amazing story if how technology is redefining the world.