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Blind people have described smiles on friendly faces, the food on their plates, and household objects from telephones to dustbins, after surgeons fitted them with electronic chips to partially restore their vision.
Results from the first eight patients to enrol in a clinical trial of the retinal implants show that five found the chips improved their eyesight enough to be useful in everyday life.
All those involved – men and women aged 35 to 62 – had lost their sight to retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary disease that destroys the light-sensitive cells in the eye. The chip stands in for the defunct cells by detecting light rays and converting them into electrical pulses, which are sent along the optic nerve to the brain.
Each patient spent up to 10 hours in surgery to have the 3mm by 3mm chip implanted in one eye. The chip is studded with 1,500 light-sensitive elements that pick up light falling on the macula, the most light-sensitive part of the retina.
The chip does not restore vision fully. Instead, patients see light and dark patches in a small part of their visual field, as if they had black-and-white tunnel vision. Though limited, some could read signs on doors, tell the time on analogue clocks and distinguish white wine from red, for example. One patient made out a white goose swimming on water, another saw a sunflower stem.
Originally posted by MamaJ
reply to post by eXia7
Ha! My son told me about this yesterday... and here it is.
Pretty cool stuff, if you could afford such a thing.
Originally posted by esteay812
reply to post by eXia7
Not really sure how to put a price on a sense as crucial as vision. I have bad eyesight, left eye is basically blind. Though I can see with glasses, without them things are just blurry, no real descript images in my left eye. My right eye is much better and I can make out images and words that aren't far away...
Even with my visual troubles, I can still see, I still see light and colors and with visual aids I can see fine.
I could not imagine what it would be like to have 0 vision, no light, no color! I couldn't imagine what a light and dark patches in certain places in my field of vision would be like.
If I were completely blinded and there was a technology that could correct that for me, even partially, it would be my number 1 mission (aside from family)
I have often wondered what it must be like for someone who was born completely blind. Do they imagine what colors might 'look' like or do they even understand what 'seeing' is? I know they do not see grey, static, or black, they simply do not 'see' anything. Never seeing anything would make it very hard to understand what sight is...
I have also wondered what it might be like for someone, who has been completely blind for their entire life, to suddenly open their eyes and see everything around them for the first time!
I can't imagine the emotions that would be involved. I'd probably pass out from shock... I might even be very frightened after waking up. Realizing the world exists in a whole new dimension could definitely be intimidating.
I wonder if the sheer excitment of gaining vision and seeing faces, colors, landscapes, etc., for the first time would out-weigh any fear that may accompany new sight?