88-year-old woman becomes first UK patient to receive 'groundbreaking' bionic eye

The successful surgery apparently means that now there is a ray of hope for an estimated five million people across the globe who have sight loss caused by age-related macular degeneration, or AMD.

A 2-mm-wide microchip has been successfully inserted by surgeons under the retina of an 88-year-old woman from East London, who became the first British patient to receive a bionic eye.

The woman, whose name was not revealed, said in a statement that losing sight in her left eye through dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) "has stopped" her doing the things she "loves, like gardening and playing indoor bowls".

"I am thrilled to be the first to have this implant, excited at the prospect of enjoying my hobbies again and I truly hope many others will benefit from this", she added.

Referring to the "groundbreaking" French-developed device Prima System, Mahi Muqit, consultant vitreoretinal surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital where the operation was conducted, said that the implant "offers the hope of restoration of sight to people suffering vision loss due to dry AMD".

About 600,000 people in the UK and nearly five million worldwide currently have sight loss caused by the disease.

"The success of this operation, and the evidence gathered through this clinical study, will provide the evidence to determine the true potential of this treatment”, Muqit said.

To fully see the world she lives in, the 88-year-old now has to wear special glasses, containing a camera connected to a small computer attached to her waistband.

The microchip, implanted in her retina, captures the video provided by the glasses transmitting it to the computer, which, in turn, uses artificial intelligence algorithms to process the information and control the focus of the glasses.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt