London surgeons including British-Bangladeshi physician Mahi Mohammed Muqit has successfully implanted a ‘bionic eye’ that has given a blind man some of his sight.
He is the first in the UK to benefit from a trial of a pioneering system at Moorfields Eye Hospital, according to the newspaper.
The patient, 73, has retinitis pigmentosa, the most common cause of inherited blindness – affecting 1.5 million people worldwide. He has been blind for more than 20 years.
Muqit, the consultant ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal surgeon at Moorfields, who inserted the Iris II system last month, said the man could now see a difference between light and dark would learn to interpret light signals.
He said, “He was unable to see anything at all. If we can get him appreciating outlines and movement around him, it’ll help with his mobility and will be a huge step forward for him. We switched on the device last week.”
From this week on, he will undergo a specialist programme of [sight] re-education. His expectations have been entirely realistic with the trial.
Two further patients are due to undergo the procedure at Moorfields.
The aim is to enable patients to lead more active lives. Some have been able to identify the outline of a staircase, a door lock or items of fruit.
There is also the hope that the technology could help patients who suffer age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of vision loss in the UK. It causes the loss of central vision.
Khalid Ishaque, chief executive of Pixium, said, “The first implant in UK at the prestigious Moorfields Eye Hospital is part of the company’s strategy to continue to expand its presence across centres of excellence in Europe.
“Pixium Vision is dedicated to conceiving, developing and bringing meaningful bionic vision innovations to surgeons.”