Scientists unveil bionic eye for future implantation

Sydney: Scientists have unveiled a bionic eye for future implantation in patients.

The prototype, developed by Bionic Vision Australia (BVA) researchers at the University of New South Wales, will deliver improved quality of life for patients suffering from degenerative vision loss caused by retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.

Macular degeneration is a condition that causes loss of vision in older adults by damaging the retina.

The device, which is undergoing tests, consists of a miniature camera mounted on glasses that captures visual input, transforming it into electrical signals that directly stimulate surviving neurons in the retina.

The implant will enable recipients to perceive points of light in the visual field that the brain can then reconstruct into an image.

The research director of BVA, Anthony Burkit, says the device will deliver life-changing vision for recipients.

"We anticipate this retinal implant will provide users with increased mobility and independence and that future versions of the implant will eventually allow recipients to recognise faces and read large print," he said.

BVA Australia chairman David Penington says the team`s outstanding expertise will be the key to delivering their ambitious goal of providing bionic vision within five years.

BVA is a partnership of Australian research institutions collaborating to developing an advanced retinal prosthesis, or bionic eye, to restore the sense of vision to people with degenerative or inherited retinal disease.