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Four Australians gifted bionic sight

A sense of vision has been restored to four blind Australians during a clinical trial of a bionic eye in…

A sense of vision has been restored to four blind Australians during a clinical trial of a bionic eye in Melbourne.

The patients who lost vision due to degenerative Retinitis Pigmentosa, could sense light and dark but not see a hand

Bionic Vision Technologies says the patients can now distinguish objects around them in pixelated greyscale, giving them a chance to navigate without the help of guide dogs, a cane or family members.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Penny Allen says the technology could be a game-changer for the one-in. It’s the first time a safe surgical approach, with an implant in the retina, has been successfully trialled at a patient’s home in Australia. -4000 Australians affected by Retinitis Pigmentosa, as there is no way to delay or cure the genetic disorder.

“This is now a very significant cause of blindness in working age people; our patients range in age from the lat e 30s to mid 60s, “she told AAP.

” We’ve been very happy with how they are progressing and they’re really happy; and that is the best thing of all. “

Prof Allen, who is lead surgeon at the Center of Eye Research Australia, will present on the study at the annual Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists Scientific meeting in Adelaide on Monday

While there other other bionic eyes on the market overseas, Prof Allen said the Australian technology was simpler and safer, while researchers had devised their own vision processing software.

The bionic eye works by capturing images through a camera connected to glasses and transmitting them to an external processing unit carried in a handbag or clipped onto a belt.

The information is then sent back to a device magnetically attached to the patient’s scalp, which is connected via a lead to the implanted device in their eyes are then processed by the brain.

Following on from the surgeries, the next phase of the study has begun as participants take the technology out of the lab and into the h

First, they had to undergo training involving obstacle courses and other tests, while learning to “trust” what they see after years of no vision, Prof Allen said.

“We are working with them to identify things They want to do at home, normal tasks we all do.

“One patient is sorting washing, colors from whites, and one patient wants to be able to navigate independently to some things in the backyard, like the lemon tree.”

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