"Bionic eye" implant comes into focus

"Bionic eye" implant comes into focus

By Adrian Galbreth

More details about a new bionic eye being developed in Australia have been revealed, with the possibility of the first patient receiving one this year.

Bionic Vision Australia (BVA) has announced that its wide-view neurostimulator concept will be implemented in the first subject before the end of the year and bring the world a step closer to curing blindness, which may interest contact lens wearers.

It has been developed by researchers at the University of New South Wales and is aimed mainly at patients suffering from degenerative vision loss caused by retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.

The device works through a tiny camera which captures visual input and converts it into electrical signals which then stimulate any surviving neurons in the retina and enable patients to perceive points of light which the brain can transform into an image.

BVA is not the only organisation claiming to potentially cure blindness, as scientists in the US have been formulating a new type of gene therapy which they claim can reverse sight loss in mice and may eventually work on humans.

by Martin Burns

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