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New Implant Gives Sight Back to the Blind

As technology progresses, humans are making strides in every field available, and some of the most impressive innovations are coming from the medical field. From printing new limbs to cloning organs, amazing things are being developed to improve patient’s quality of life. One scientific miracle is happening in Medford, Massachusetts: giving sight back to the blind. Mr. Andreottola, a resident of Medford, is one of the first people to ever receive a bionic eye implant. He began to lose his sight in his 20s, and went completely blind by the time he was 35, but now, with the aid of his implant, he can make out the shapes and movements of people and objects.

The implant, called the Argus, was developed but Second Sight , and done at the Wilmer Eye Institute at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, where doctors inserted a finger-nail sized chip into his retina. The chip is equipped with wires that send the electrodes from the back of his eye to an antenna placed at the front of his eye, where they interact with a radio transmitter. A camera on Andreottola’s glasses sends images to the transmitter and then to the electrodes, which will stimulate his cells to flash light onto his retina, and those patterns are delivered as information to his brain, allowing him to see. Unfortunately, his vision is still extremely limited. The normal human eye can process thousands of images per second, but the bionic eye implant can only process five, which makes his vision a sort of ‘strobe-light’ effect, and can only produce black & white images.

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Originally, Andreottola’s insurance company refused to pay for the surgery, but after a lengthy court battle involving the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, he eventually won his case. In fact, a new version of the implant, the Argus II, is planned to come out in the next two years, and Andreottola is first in line to try out the upgrade.

article: http://medford.wickedlocal.com/news/20160331/medford-resident-anthony-andreottola-receives-bionic-eye-implant

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