Two British men,who have been totally blind for many years, have had their sight partially restored thatn to pioneering surgery.
They have been received a ground-breaking eye implant that allows them to perceive light and even some shapes.
From a control unit inserted just behind the ear a fine cable runs to a wafer-thin chip measuring 3mm square is inserted behind the retina.
“When the chip is turned on all of a sudden they can see the light from the chip,” said opthalmic surgeon Tim Jackson. “The vision is fairly basic but as they get to use and interpret the image they should be able to see a fair bit more and already the patient is able to see objects on a table, maybe recognise a little bit of shape.”
But for one of the patients, record producer Robin Millar, even the most basic improvement in his vision has been a revelation:
“The biggest surprise for me and the research team is that two days after it was switched on I dreamt in glorious, glowing technicolour for the first time in 25 years. Not only was that a great pleasure for me of course but it means that the part of my brain you would have thought was sound asleep was actually ready and willing to be woken up by these experiences.”
The treatment is part of a clinical trial that will see up to a dozen patients fitted with the implants.