A revolutionary bionic eye implant has restored the sight of a British man.
Ray Flynn, 80, from Audenshaw, Manchester, has become the first patient in the world to receive an artificial retina for dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of eyesight problems in the UK.
Hundreds of thousands of those with the affliction could benefit from the technology, which was previously used only for those with a rare eyesight condition.
Surgeons at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital implanted a chip at the back of Mr Flynn’s eye in a four-hour procedure last month.
The retired factory supervisor can now make out shapes with his eyes closed – proof that the system is working.
Since he was diagnosed with AMD eight years ago Mr Flynn’s eyesight has progressively deteriorated, until he could only see clearly out of the corners of his eyes.
Now the £80,000 procedure has given him back his central vision, allowing him to read a newspaper without a magnifying glass for the first time in years.
Surgeons will now insert the Argus II retinal implant into more patients over the coming months to demonstrate that it can work for a variety of patients. They hope that eventually the system will become available on the NHS.
Age-related macular degeneration affects 500,000 people in Britain, 85 per cent of them with the dry form of the disease. It occurs when the cells at the middle of the retina become damaged, resulting in a loss of central vision.
The bionic system works by transferring video images, captured by a camera in special spectacles, into electrical impulses that can be read by the brain.
SOURCE: BEN SPENCER