Recently Approved Bionic Eye Procedure Just Gave This Man Sight After 40 Years of Blindness

by onMay 27, 2016

Only recently approved by the FDA, a new operation of the eye can give the blind new sight. Just recently in Texas this approved procedure, that implant’s a bionic eye, was successfully performed on a Texas man John Jameson.

While the doctors who completed the operation have yet to release much information about the procedure, our friends over at Futurism believe it was most likely the ‘Argus II’ artificial retina that was used to give John his sight back.

John Jameson lost his eyesight forty years ago to a severe infection. Eventually his wife began researching the possibility of a ‘bionic eye’ and was able to get him scheduled for this new procedure. The operation has only recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US and is the process of implanting a bionic eye in the patient, most likely the ‘Argus II’ in this case.

By implanting a layer of electrodes in the eye and pairing them with a lens and a special pair of glasses that can translate information from the users surroundings into an image, the Argus implant is able to restore a portion of the users vision. It was designed to reverse advanced retinitis pigmentosa, which damages light-sensitive cells within the retina. These cells would normally handle the transfer of light, but when damaged cannot, and those cells are essentially replaced by the Argus.

argus II diagram

Image: CDN

As we said before, we can’t be sure if the ‘Argus II’ is the exact model of bionic eye that was used, as the doctors have not released much official information about the procedure. Given that most all similar operations done in the past few years have used the FDA approved ‘Argus II’ technology, it’s an accurate assumption that it was used in this case as superior technology does not exist yet.

While the procedure was a success, Jameson has stated that he’s been suffering from some double vision since undergoing surgery last month in Louisiana. But this is just the process of his brain adjusting to his new vision. John stated that his sight is improving every day.

“When I wake up in the morning, I love to see nature waking up…When you’re a kid, you’d wake up for Christmas morning, and you’d walk down and see the tree lights and the gifts and everything – the joy you get when that happens…And now that’s been happening to me for every day, because every day I wake up I can see more and more.” John Jameson to the Texas Standard

This procedure is one of only a handful like it that has been carried out. The first FDA-approved eye implant was successfully completed in 2014 and also used an Argus II artificial retina.

Argus II

Image: Second Sight

If you’re still curious, here’s a bit more info about the implant. Patients must be over the age of 25 in order to assure complete formation of the eye. The Argus also only works on patients who have had vision at some point in their life. So this rules out those born with blindness.

These are only the current specifications thought. Inventors ‘Second Sight Medical Products’ hope to eventually create an implant that can treat a vast array of vision problems.

“This is just the beginning. We have a lot of exciting things sitting in the wings.” – National Eye Institute

References: FDA – Futurism – BBC – Second Sight

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