Eye operation helps blind Briton to see

May 4th, 2012 - 12:35 am ICT by IANS  

London, May 3 (IANS) A 54-year-old Briton, who has been blind for 20 years, was able to see a sudden pulsating light in his left eye after doctors implanted a wafer-thin microchip at the back of his eye.

Chris James saw a sudden pulsating light in his left eye, like a camera bulb or a lighting flash after doctors switched on a wafer-thin, 3 mm microchip implanted at the back of his eye, The Independent reported Thursday.

Now he can distinguish shapes and might, in time, be even able to recognise faces.

James’ experimental “bionic eye” reacts to light sending an electronic signal that is picked by the optic nerve and processed by the brain into an image.

The treatment could partially restore the sight of thousands of sufferers of a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which causes the photoreceptor cells at the back of the eye to deteriorate.

In March, James, a council worker from Wroughton in Wiltshire, underwent an eight hour operation at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford to have the chip implanted.

The surgery involves inserting a fine cable through the layers of the eyeball to place the chip on an area of the retina the size of a pinhead. The chip is connected to a power source implanted under the skin behind the ear.

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