Living Healthy: Bionic eye

A woman who lost her vision years ago may be able to see again thanks to a new device that some are calling a kind of bionic eye.

Lisa Kulik has been legally blind for more than 30 years, but she never gave up hope.

“I knew that all along that with the technology that one day there was going to be something that would come along,” she said.

It did.

In the form of this breakthrough two part device called the Argus 2 Retinal Implant. It’s placed inside the eye to quickly change a patient’s life.

“Patients are then able to make out obstacles and really increase their mobility,” Dr. Lisa Olmos de Koo said.

During the surgery, doctors attached the implant to the part of Lisa’s retina damaged by her disease.

The implant then acts like a bionic eye transmitting images to Lisa’s brain.

The second part of the device is then mounted on a special pair of glasses.

“It has a camera which captures the images then sends it wirelessly to an implant in the eye,” Retina Specialist Dr. Mark Humayun said.

When the implant receives the images, Lisa should see light and dark spots.

This pioneering technology should then help Lisa train her brain to turn those spots into shapes and objects.

One week after the implant was put in doctors turned on the device.

Over time she’ll see objects shapes and movement

“I think it’s a miracle. I knew one day it was going to happen and I’m just so excited that it’s finally here,” she said.

Right now the device is only approved for people with retinitis pigmentosa but the technology is evolving rapidly and may someday be used to treat or even cure a wide variety of diseases that rob people of their sight.

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