'Bionic' gran, 88, first in UK to use revolutionary blindness-curing tech: 'I am thrilled'


    The 88-year-old, from Dagenham, London, suffers from geographic atrophy – the most common form of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It causes a blind spot to develop in the middle of the eye. The octogenarian lost sight in one of her eyes, which has left her unable to do the things she loves – like painting and gardening.

    But there is hope, after she received an implant at Moorfields Eye Hospital as part of a Europe-wide clinical trial.

    In a statement, she said she hoped the implant would allow her to do the things she loved again.

    “Losing the sight in my left eye through dry AMD has stopped me from doing the things I love, like gardening, playing indoor bowls and painting with watercolours,” she said.

    “I am thrilled to be the first to have this implant, excited at the prospect of enjoying my hobbies again and I truly hope that many others will benefit from this too.”

    The “bionic” microchip was surgically inserted under the centre of her eye.

    She will wear special glasses s, containing a video camera that is linked to a small computer attached to their waistband.

    The chip captures the video provided by the glasses, and in turn transmits this to the computer, which uses artificial intelligence to guide the focus.

    The glasses will then project the image as an infrared beam back through the eye to the chip, which transforms this into an electrical signal that travels back through the retina cells and into the brain.

    Experts say that the brain will then be able to interpret the signal like natural vision.

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    It is the leading cause of blindness in people aged 65 or over.

    Symptoms of Macular Degeneration include:

    • Straight lines such as door frames and lampposts may appear distorted or bent
    • Vision may become blurry or develop gaps
    • Objects in front of you may change shape, size, colour or seem to move or disappear
    • Dark spots, such as a smudge on glasses, could appear in the centre of your vision

    If you have experienced any of the above, you should contact your GP.


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