Tue, Apr 05, 2011 - Page 7 News List

FEATURE: Futuristic ‘bionic eye’ implant offers hope to the blind

AFP, GLEN BURNIE, MARYLAND

The implant is unnoticeable. The surgery took about three hours and caused hardly any pain, Konstantopoulos said.

He is gradually improving in his ability to interpret the light flashes and identify them as lines and shapes, the doctor said, but among other patients, the response “varies quite a bit.”

“People who have been blind for a long time probably don’t have as much benefit,” Dagnelie said.

As time goes on, doctors hope that the device could extend to people who suffer from macular degeneration, the primary cause of vision loss among people over 60.

“We hope that 10 to 15 years from now we’ll have something that is quite useful clinically,” the Dutch-born doctor said.

Back in his living room, Konstantopoulos sat in his recliner and scooped up the chubby-cheeked little boy who calls him “Papou.”

“That has been my biggest complaint. I have never seen his face,” he said, cradling the boy on his lap. “I cannot see his face. Yet.”

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