After many researches, the world’s first bionic eye transplant was performed in Australia on Thursday. The woman, who received the bionic eye, was suffering from hereditary sight loss, according to Reuters.
An important scientific breakthrough took place in Australia when a female patient named Dianne Ashworth was endowed with a bionic eye. The patient underwent a surgical intervention through which the device was attached to her retina helping her cure her hereditary sight loss. Doctors working for the Bionic Vision Australia, a government-funded science consortium, consider the operation a success because the patient has completely recovered and will soon be able to distinguish her first images.
Penny Allen, the surgeon who implanted the bionic eye to Dianne, explained reporters that the images are transmitted through 24 electrodes which send impulses to stimulate the eye’s nerve cells. A month after the surgery was performed and the patient was completely recovered, scientists activated the device for the first time in their lab. Ashworth confessed that she was very nervous because she didn’t know what to expect. However, she saw a flash as soon as scientists turned the device on.
Similar exercises will be performed in the following period until Dianne will get used to the stimuli that her eye’s nerve cells receive. She has made a big progress, so far and claims that every time there was stimulation she could see a new different shape in front of her eyes. Unfortunately, the device can only work inside the lab because researchers need to perform further tests.
The implantation of the device could help scientists at the Bionic Vision Australia receive important information about humans’ visual perception. Scientists will particularly focus on the process by which images are delivered by the brain and reproduced by the eye because there have been many unanswered questions in this field. For that, they will register the feedback obtained from the device in order to determine what Ashworth’s retina sees. More advanced devices could be produced in the future if Dianne Ashworth’s case works well.