The future is looking a little brighter as doctors strongly believe this pioneering new treatment could help save the sight of thousands of people.
80-year-old Ray Flynn suffered from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) before doctors implanted the chip into the back of his eye, which acts as an artificial retina. AMD is the most common cause of sight loss in the UK, but if the procedure becomes common, it could see an end pretty quickly. Some 500,000 people suffer from AMD in the UK, a disease which damages the cells in the eye causing central vision to deteriorate massively over time.
My Flynn underwent the procedure last month in Manchester and can already make out some shapes with his eyes closed. The procedure doesn’t come cheap at £80,000 but as doctors begin to implant the chip (known as the Argus II) into more and more patients, they’re hoping it could become available on the NHS.
The chip works by sending a video image captured by special glasses to the back of the eye, which is then turned into electrical impulses that are read by the brain and sent back to the chip, enhancing lost vision.