May 17, 2022 1:08 am

A woman partially recovers her sight thanks to a chip implanted in her retina

A woman partially recovered her sight thanks to a chip implanted in the retina of one of her eyes. The 88-year-old woman (her identity was not disclosed) was the first in the UK to test a new technology that combines a chip, a camera mounted on a glasses and a laptop to emulate the functioning of the eye in people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Age-related macular degeneration is a condition that according to specialists suffer from about 100,000 people in Argentina and several million people worldwide. “Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a eye disease affecting central vision in older adults in your macula, that part of the eye that allows you to see details with precision, which directly affects the activities of daily life. Although wet AMD represents only 10 to 15% of AMD cases, it is responsible for 90% of severe vision loss or legal blindness in people over 50 years of age,” ophthalmologist Héctor Miranda told LA NACION in 2013.

The patient, an 88-year-old volunteer, has 7 children and 8 grandchildren, and is the first woman in England to undergo an operation in which a chip was implanted behind her retina.

Now at the Moorfields hospital in London, they tested a technology developed by the firm Pixium Vision, in France. As explained by The GuardianThe device is called the Prima System, and it’s part of a European experiment to restore sight in AMD patients.

In this case, it is a 2mm diameter chip that is inserted under the patient’s retina, which he must wear linked wirelessly to special glasses. The glasses have a camera, which records what is in front of the person; that camera transmits the information it records to a small computer that the patient wears on her waist, and that processes these images, and returns them to the glasses, which projects the image in infrared form to the chip inserted in the eye, which in turn transforms that information into electrical impulses that travel through the optic nerve to the brain, which processes it as if it were normal vision.

The system is being tested, and it takes a while for the patient’s brain to reinterpret the information the chip sends it; after several weeks of rehabilitation, patients should be able to see texts when they could not see anything before, as explained in the hospital.

In this very London hospital it has already been tested with another implant, the Argus II, for patients with retinitis pigmentosa, which allows them to distinguish between light and shadow and, eventually, to recognize text on a computer screen. And also in that hospital a prosthetic eyeball made with a 3D printer was used for the first time, a few months ago; this new manufacturing method allows prostheses much more similar to the original eye.

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