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Bionic Eyes


Technology can now restore sight to people blinded by retinitis pigmentosa:

The device, called a sub-retinal implant, contains some 1,500 light sensors and sits underneath the retina. It works by directly replacing light receptors that are lost as a result of the disease. After the light detection stage, it uses the eye's natural image-processing functions to produce a stable visual image.

"It proves the concept that in a patient who has been blind for many years and is unable to see anything, the optic nerves can be re-awakened for them to be able to see again," MacLaren, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters.

"To go from being completely blind for many years, to being able to read a few letters and see shapes is an amazing step."

A google of “Bionic Eye” also turned up this:

The FDA Tuesday [July 6,2010] announced that it had approved a telescopic eye implant that can help the visually impaired. The procedure involves removing the lens of the eye completely and replacing it with the now FDA-approved implant, which is capable of magnifying things by 2.2-2.7 times.

The implant is aimed at elderly people (over the age of 75) with macular degeneration, a condition that results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field because of retinal damage.

And the Australian government threw some dough at a somewhat clumsier success:

BVA's bionic eye works in a similar way to the US-based Argus II system. A small camera is mounted on top of a pair of glasses, and the resulting images are sent to a small processor unit that can be kept in a patient's pocket. This processor sends a crunched image to a tiny 2x4mm chip that's implanted directly onto the retina - and the chip directly stimulates the visual neurons, sending a rough visual signal to the brain for processing.

They’re all pretty cool. And there are more.

I can imagine fewer things more wonderful than giving someone the power of sight. That’s one of the reasons I am a Lion.