Man regains vision with bionic eye

A man who lost his vision blind due to  degenerative eye disease now has a new look at life, thanks to the device doctors are calling the bionic eye.  .

For the past two decades  Walfre Lopez lived in the dark. 

Walfre Lopez says, "I was around 21 years old when i started to lose my vision."

He was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease. His son, now 21, was just two years old at the time. His daughter, whom he’s never seen, is now 12. While doctors told Walfre and his family there’s nothing they could do, they never gave up hope. 

Walfre is the first patient at the University Of Florida Health to get the bionic eye. After  a complex surgery, a computer chip implanted in the back of the eye interacts with electrodes placed on the eye’s surface, making artificial vision possible with special glasses. 

 “The special glasses, they have a small high definition camera which captures the images," explains Dr. Gibran Khurshid, an ophthalmologist with the UF Health Eye Center.

 It’s not vision as Walfre used to know it, but it allows him to see shapes and contrasting images. 

Dr. Khursid tells Walfre, "We are giving you a 7th sense and then we teach you how to use it as a vision.”

Walfre says it's really exciting to be able to see after being blind for 20-something years.

Doctors say the device  will only help people suffering from blindness caused by diseases affecting the retina, like retinitis pigmentosa. 

The FDA first approved retinal implants in 2013. Since then, the devices have improved the vision of nearly 900 people world-wide.
 


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