Moorfields Eye Hospital patient receives bionic eye

An 88-year-old woman from Dagenham has had a 2mm wide microchip inserted under her retina as part of a Europe-wide clinical trial

bionic eye
Moorfields Eye Hospital

An octogenarian who was previously blind in her left eye has been able to detect signals following the insertion of a bionic chip at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

The patient, from Dagenham, is the first in the UK to receive a bionic eye as part of a Europe-wide clinical trial that aims to restore vision in patients with geographic atrophy.

Surgeons implanted the 2mm chip which receives signals from specialised glasses containing a video camera under her retina,

The chip captures the visual scene projected by the glasses and transmits this to a small computer attached to the patient’s waistband.

Artificial intelligence algorithms within the computer direct the glasses to focus on what is deemed to be the main object in the image.

The image of this object is projected as an infra-red beam on to the chip, which is then converted into an electrical signal that passes through to the brain as if it were natural vision.

Four to six weeks following the operation to insert the chip, the system is tested by switching the chip on to see if the patient detects a signal.

The patient then undergoes a rehabilitation programme to adjust to this new form of vision.

The 88-year-old patient shared that losing her sight in her left eye through dry age-related macular degeneration had stopped her from enjoying activities that she loved, such as indoor bowls, gardening and painting water =colours.

“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,” she shared.

Consultant vitreoretinal surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital, Mahi Muqit, highlighted: “The success of this operation, and the evidence gathered through this clinical study, will provide the evidence to determine the true potential of this treatment.”

The Prima System device used in this operation was developed by Pixium Vision in France.