Many blind people might be given the chance to see again after the EU decided to give the ‘go ahead’ for an ocular bionic implant. The man-made eye implants can only be used only in Britain at the moment.
This new device is actually a retina implant which had enough impressive results and successful tests in order to be viewed as a viable treatment for blindness. Not all blind people can get their vision restored as this device only works for those who suffer from retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The disease itself cannot be treated and is known to incapacitate vision little by little until the person completely loses eyesight. Retinitis pigmentosa affects the retina and leaves the person unable to distinguish objects and even light patterns.
One in 4,000 Britons reports having eyesight problems, impairment or even total blindness. The device itself will be modified to counteract several other conditions in order to fit the needs of people who are not able to see properly.
Lyndon Da Cruz, who is an ophthalmic surgeon at the Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, believes that this new device will do wonders and the technology is worth it. He said: “Patients with RP who can afford it can now have an artificial retina. It is proof of principle, always the great unknown with new technology.”
Argus II, the name of the implant, is designed to hold a camera in place on top of a pair of glasses. It takes images and transfers them to a video processor which the person needs to carry with him or her. The images received are then transformed into electronic signals which travel directly in the artificial retina. This then lets the nerves take the signal into the brain where it is transformed back into images.
The entire system is powered by batteries and helps the wearer to see black and white spots. According to Dr. Da Cruz, the technology permits blind people to actually distinguish surfaces or even objects.
When it comes to price though, the device is rather expensive and still not affordable by most people. It costs £53,000 requires training in order to be used correctly, and that means another £11,000, but to many, the chance of regaining ones eyesight again is priceless and well worth the costs involved.