Blindness can occur at any age for several reasons in the case of human beings. A woman who has been blind for 16 years is now capable of seeing everything which she never thought of. The 57-year-old woman is now using a bionic eye developed by Spanish neuro-engineer Eduardo Fernandez she was able to see again which is helped her to get back her vision without using the biological eyes at all.
The blind woman got a bionic eye
When Bernardeta Gómez was 42, toxic optic neuropathy destroyed the bundles of nerves that connect her eyes to her brain, which led to the blindness and was unable to detect light. After waiting for 16 years in the dark she was given a six-month window during which Gómez could see a very low-resolution semblance of the world represented by glowing white-yellow dots and shapes, thanks to the modified pair of glasses which is included in a system that Fernandez is honing at his University of Miguel Hernandez lab.
As reported by MIT Technology Review, this system comprises a few different parts, which includes a pair of glasses fitted with a camera that connects to a computer, which then translates the camera's live video feed into electronic signals. These signals are then sent by using a cable to a port that Fernandez surgically embedded in Gómez's backside of the skull, which is wired to a 100-electrode implant in the visual cortex in the rear of her brain.
The six month trial period: What's next
While science, especially in the field of medicine trials could turn out to be horrible and can make the patient's situation worse due to several risk factors, these last six months showed the sign of success. For the six months, Gómez visited the lab four times per week.
Even though while using the glasses what she saw in her mind was little more than glowing dots, it was still enough to allow her to identify letters, lights and people. As per MIT Tech mentioned that during her visit Gómez played a simple Pac-Man-like computer game piped directly into her brain.
After this success, Fernandez not only knows that his bionic eye works but also planning his next steps, which will include finding ways to prevent the implant from degrading while in the body and include more blind people to test his revolutionary system. He told MIT Tech that Gómez was the first patient to try this system, but over the next few years, they will install implants in five more blind people. In addition, he said, "We had done similar experiments in animals, but a cat or a monkey can't explain what it's seeing."
However, it should be noted that he is not the only researcher who is developing such a system to restore the visions of blind people. Alex Shortt, a surgeon at Optegra Eye Hospital, told The Daily Mail in a July 2019 early attempts to create a 'bionic eye' focused on implanting into the eye itself. "It required you to have a working eye, a working optic nerve. By bypassing the eye completely, you open the potential up to many, many more people," said Shortt.