In England 80-yr old becomes first recipient of bionic eye

The man, Ray Flynn, has dry age-related macular degeneration which led to the total loss of his central vision, but he now uses a retinal implant which converts video images from a miniature video camera worn on his glasses.

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An 80-year old man in the United Kingdom has become the world's first recipient of of a bionic eye implant.

The man, Ray Flynn, has dry age-related macular degeneration which led to the total loss of his central vision, but he now uses a retinal implant which converts video images from a miniature video camera worn on his glasses.

He can now make out the direction of white lines on a computer screen using the retinal implant.

According to BBC, Flynn said he was "delighted" with the implant and hoped in time it would improve his vision sufficiently to help him with day-to-day tasks like gardening and shopping.

Prior to the surgery, Flynn could no longer tell the difference between weeds and flowers, had to sit close to the television to watch and had stopped going to watch Manchester United play because he couldn't make out anything happening.

The implant, Argus II, has previously been used to restore some vision to patients who are blind as a result of a rare condition known as retinitis pigmentosa.

The operation, which took place at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, is the first time it has been implanted in a patient with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The operation took 4 hours and was led by Paulo Stanga, consultant ophthalmologist and vitreo-retinal surgeon at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and professor of ophthalmology and retinal regeneration at the University of Manchester.

The bionic eye implant receives its visual information from a miniature camera mounted on glasses worn by the patient, the images are converted into electrical pulses and transmitted wirelessly to an array of electrodes attached to the retina.

4 more patients with dry AMD will receive the implant at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, as part of a clinical trial.

According to Stanga, in time, Flynn should learn how to interpret the images from the implant more effectively even as he pointed out that the implant cannot provide any highly detailed vision but can help detect distinct patterns such as door frames and shapes.

Stanga descridbed the trial as exciting saying, it is hoped that this technology "might help people, including children with other forms of sight loss."

The Argus II costs about £150,000, including treatment costs, although all the patients on the trial will be treated free of charge.

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