The woman, a mother of seven children and a grandmother of eight grandchildren, suffers from geographic atrophy.
An 88-year-old British woman who has lost vision in her left eye has become the first UK patient to detect signals in that eye using a revolutionary new electronic chip.
The woman, a mother of seven children and grandmother of eight, suffers from geographic atrophy, the most common form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and a condition that affects more than five million people worldwide.
The intervention, pioneering in this country, was performed at Moorfields Specialty Eye Hospital, London, as part of a European-level clinical trial.
In a statement issued to national media, the woman, a resident of the British capital’s Dagenham neighbourhood, said she was confident the transplant would allow her to return to activities she loved, such as “gardening, bowling and watercolor painting.”
“I am delighted to be the first to receive this implant, excited to be able to enjoy my hobbies again, and I really hope many others will benefit from this as well,” said the patient.
The way this implant works is by surgically inserting a 2 mm slice into the center of the patient’s retina, who has to place special glasses containing a video camera connected to a working microcomputer that, over time, is attached to a tape at the waist.
The chip captures the image provided by the glasses and transmits it to a computer that uses artificial intelligence algorithms, then processes the information and directs the focus of the glasses.
Finally, the glasses project this image as a beam of infrared radiation through the eye to the chip, which converts it into an electrical signal that travels back through retinal cells to the brain. This, in turn, interprets that signal as if it were normal vision.
The research has the support of the Biomedical Research Center of the National Institute for Human Rights at the aforementioned London Hospital, the NHS and Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London, and the device used in the procedure, from the Prima system, was developed by Pixium Vision, in France.
In a note revealed to the media, specialist Mahi Mogget, from the aforementioned London Medical Centre, considered this device to offer “the hope of restoring sight to people with vision loss due to AMD”. (I)