10 NHS patients to get cutting-edge bionic eyes

The NHS has announced it will pay for ten patients to be fitted with “bionic eye” technology – a pioneering retinal implant that can restore some sight to those with an inherited form of blindness.

10 NHS patients to get cutting-edge bionic eyes

The Argus II implant uses a camera, mounted to a custom pair of glasses, to capture footage from the user’s perspective. This information is transmitted wirelessly to an electrode array in the retina, which creates patterns of light and dark that the user interprets as shapes.

The technology has so far been used in trials for patients with retinitis pigmentosa, a form of blindness that results in patients only being able to discern between daylight and darkness. One of the three trial patients to have the implant installed is Keith Hayman, 68, a former butcher from Lancashire who was first diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa in his 20s.

“Having spent half my life in darkness, I can now tell when my grandchildren run towards me and make out lights twinkling on Christmas trees,” he said. “I would be talking to a friend, who might have walked off and I couldn’t tell and kept talking to myself. This doesn’t happen anymore, because I can tell when they have gone.” These may seem like little things, he said, but “they make all the difference to me”.

The plan is for five NHS patients to be treated at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and the other five to be treated at Moorfields Eye Hospital, both in 2017. The treatment will be offered free of charge, and the patients will be monitored following the surgery to see how it has improved their lives. If the results are encouraging, it could open the doors for more people to receive the treatment in the future.

“This highly innovative NHS-funded procedure shows real promise and could change lives,” said Dr Jonathan Fielden, director of specialised commissioning at NHS England. “The NHS has given the world medical innovations ranging from modern cataract surgery to new vaccines and hip replacements. Now once again the NHS is at the forefront of harnessing groundbreaking science for the benefit of patients in this country.”

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos