Anyone who suffers with vision problems understands it can be a royal pain in the ass. For those who suffer from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) it may be even worse. One of the leading causes of vision loss among those over the age of 60, AMD can almost completely eliminate your vision, making it difficult to perform the most basic of tasks. Finally, thanks to a newly developed bionic eye implant, it might not have to be this way for very much longer.
You likely already know someone who has had vision problems and had it corrected through some form of surgery. One of the most common occurrences today is Lasik, which can be used to correct a variety of vision issues. Of course, this surgery will not work on everyone. For some common vision challenges, getting a transplant will do the job instead. This allows you to actually take the working tissue from a doner and replace your own defective tissue. In the case of your eyes, the cornea is the most common thing to have transplanted.
Of course, conditions like AMD are not treatable with transplants. In fact, up until now they were really not treatable at all, and if you were diagnosed with this condition you would just ride on the hope your vision didn’t continue to digress to the point of blindness. For 80-year-old AMD sufferer Ray Flynn, this hope did not last. Instead, he found his vision had diminished to the point he could no longer enjoy watching soccer or even gardening. By using the Argus II implant, a bionic eye technology developed by Second Sight, Ray is finally able to see once again. This innovative new technology is implanted in the eye during a four hour surgery. This implant works to transmit signals to the eye and form images. From there, a special set of glasses are worn by the patient that help translate these signals into a visible image. It may not seem like much to those who have normal vision, but the effects are almost surreal for someone in Ray Flynn’s shoes.
Undoubtedly, there are a fair amount of science fiction fans who are asking this one question, “What about enhancing vision?” Can we use this same bionic technology to one day create an eye that will allow people to zoom in or see microscopic details not achievable with natural vision? While the inventors of this implant don’t promise these results, they do see a future where the estimated 20 million sufferers of AMD can find relief from such a life-altering condition.
How soon do you think these bionic implants will be available on a larger scale? Would you be willing to get one if you knew it would improve your vision.