Ray’s eye on goal thanks to bionic eye

Health: Pa­tient de­lighted with surgery

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS AND OPINION -

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.”

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