Ray’s eye on goal thanks to bionic eye
Health: Patient delighted with surgery
A partially sighted pensioner has had his central vision restored for the first time in nearly a decade after he got a “bionic eye”.
Ray Flynn, 80, from Manchester, is the world’s first patient with advanced dry age-relatedmaculardegeneration (AMD) to undergo the procedure.
The retired engineer, has had deteriorating central vision for eight years which has affected his quality of life. AMDis thecommonest cause of sight loss in the developed world with up to 25million sufferers worldwide. Mr Flynn is affected by dry AMD which does not affect his outer vision but is untreatable.
The Argus II retinal implant that he received last month at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital in a four-hour procedure has been successfully used worldwide on over 130 patients with the rare eye disease retinitis pigmentosa. But those patients, unlike Mr Flynn, had no peripheral vision. It converts video images captured by a miniature camera housed in the patient’s glasses into a series of small electrical pulses that are transmitted wirelessly to electrodes on the surface of the retina. These pulses stimulate the retina’s remaining cells – resulting in the corresponding perception of patterns of light in the brain
The patient then learns to interpret these visual patterns to regain some visual function.
Mr Flynn said: “Before when I was looking at a plant in the garden it was like a honeycomb in the centre of my eye. That has now disappeared. I can nowwalkroundthegarden and see things.”
He is counting down the days to the start of the new football season. Mr Flynn was a regular at Old Trafford in his younger days and also watched Manchester United in Europe.
His brother, Pete, 77, said: “We don’t miss a game on the television but he can’t make out the players onthe pitch and he can only watch if he sits in a certain position and looks from the corner of his eye.”