Scientists may have finally discovered a way to restore human sight with the help of a new bionic eye implant that sends images directly to the brain.
The world’s first human test of the device was done on a 30-year-old woman who has been blind for seven years. As a result of the test, the woman was able to see colored flashes, lines, and spots when signals were sent to her brain from a computer.
According to a statement, the woman suffered no significant side effects during the process.
The device was developed as part of the Orion 1 program by Second Sight, for those who cannot benefit from the Argus II retinal system which has limited application to patients who have some working retinal cells. This means that the new system, Orion 1, has the potential to restore sight to those who have gone completely blind for any reason, including cancer, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or trauma, because it works by sending images directly to the brain.
Dr Robert Greenberg, the chairman of Second Sight, and the man who developed Orion 1, said: ‘It is rare that technological development offers such stirring possibilities. By bypassing the optic nerve and directly stimulating the visual cortex, the Orion I has the potential to restore vision to patients blinded due to virtually any reason, including glaucoma, cancer, diabetic retinopathy, or trauma.’
The company is now waiting for approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to connect the system to a camera on a pair of glasses which will send moving images directly to the brain.
They expect to get the approval by the end of 2017 so they can go ahead and conduct these trials with the ultimate goal to provide the world’s first bionic eye and restore sight to millions.