I know living with blindness can be very difficult. You live your life depending on someone else. And if you do have some form of independence, you still need help from others.
What if there is a technology that allows you to see? This is what bionic eye tech aims to provide to people living with blindness. It’s a new technology where you get an implant to attach to your retina that is connected to a camera that will allow you to see.
If you’re interested in this new technology, check out my article below.
- A World You Can See with Bionic Eye Tech
- How Does the Bionic Eye Tech Work
- How to Become a Candidate for the Bionic Eye
- The Timeline of the Procedure
- Living Your Full Life with Bionic Eye Tech
A World You Can See with Bionic Eye Tech
In recent years, it has come to my attention that technology has advanced so fast that we can now even provide vision to people who have lost their sight.
Bionic eye tech is one of the most important technologies that we have today. It allows people with specific types of blindness to see through prosthetics that are implanted behind their retinas.
The main goal of this technology is to provide a vision for those who have lost their sight because of damaged retinas. This implant is connected to a video camera that is made into a pair of glasses.
There are three different kinds of bionic eyes but they all provide vision to the user. These include a camera with an EPI-retinal chip which is also known as The Argus II, the sub-retinal chip or the Retinal Implant AG, and the Encoding Neural signals.
A Look Back on the History of Bionic Eye Tech
But first, let’s take a look back at how bionic eyes came to be and why it was created in the first place. It was in 1755 when a French physician named Charles Leroy first had the idea when he was able to discharge static electricity into a blind man.
This allowed the man to experience a slight visual perception. By that time, many doctors and scientists began working on a technology that allows blind people to see.
There have been various devices that allow people to recognize different objects, read, and even detect certain items within an unfamiliar area. Research continues to this very day but the chances of people with blindness in certain cases are better with the advancement of technology.
How Does the Bionic Eye Tech Work
So how does the bionic eye tech work? First, we need to know what happened to the visually impaired individual. There are many cases where the person becomes blind due to a condition within the retina however, it was discovered that it was only the retina that was compromised and the nerves that send the information to the brain are not.
This allowed scientists and doctors to bypass the retina through implants. The camera from the glasses acts as the vehicle to capture images then transmits them onto the patient’s retina but skips over the area where the damage has been done.
The implant then uses light waves through the nerves connecting to the brain where it is processed and the user will have a perception of what the camera is seeing.
While their vision won’t be as clear as what we have normally, it still provides a semblance of information for people who have never been able to see it before.
How It Will Change Lives
For people who have a mild level of blindness to total blindness, the bionic eye tech has the potential to transform the lives of millions who have suffered this condition. There are over two million people with retinitis pigmentosa which is one of the major causes of blindness.
There are also up to 196 million people with macular degeneration which causes blindness in older people. For them, it is going to change their lives knowing that they will now have visual cues. They can now continue to live their lives in some form of independence and who knows, later on, the technology can even allow them to live with full independence.
Research even mentions that the use of bionic eye tech to treat blindness can expect to account for $425.85 million by 2028. Imagine how many people can live their lives to the fullest with this technology.
How to Become a Candidate for the Bionic Eye
You can become a candidate for a bionic eye implant and enrich your life with the ability to see. There are different criteria for people with severe retinitis pigmentosa to be qualified for the procedure.
First, you need to be 25 years old or older for you to be allowed to have the procedure. This is because the eyes are now fully matured at this stage. There should also be barely or no light perception in both eyes.
The doctor will fully examine this requirement. You should have a previous history of form vision as well as be able to receive the recommended clinical follow-up after the procedure.
There will be more steps, tests, and examinations done before you can be fully qualified for the procedure. After that, doctors will fully evaluate the condition before you can receive the implant.
The Costs for a Better Eyesight
The surgery can be very expensive and it is not for those who have a limited budget. While the process to be a candidate can be long and arduous, the results can be very fruitful. Those who are interested in undergoing the procedure should have a budget of around $150,000.
While this is a rough estimate, you should still prepare more for further surgery and post-surgery training as well as medications. You will likely need to undergo a lot of training since you will need to adapt to the changes in your vision.
It will also take up a lot of your time and your patience to get used to all the visual cues that you’ll be perceiving once the bionic eye tech is fully operational.
The Timeline of the Procedure
The entire procedure can take a few hours depending on your condition and is followed by different post-op training to help you understand the signals that come from the device.
The main surgery takes place where the surgeon places a microelectrode array into the eye. After the eyes have healed or after about a month, you’ll then return for the second part of the procedure where they will put on the glasses and turn on the camera.
The camera then captures a digital image and sends it to the processor where it converts the image into electrical signals to the microelectrode array that was implanted on your retina. This creates a pixelized vision that allows the person to see.
The rehabilitation process takes most of the time. This is the time when patients learn to interpret what they see. This usually takes around six months or more.
Success Rate of Bionic Eye Tech
Many might ask if the entire procedure is going to be worth it considering the expenses and the amount of time needed to follow through.
I say that the success rate provides you with accurate information on how you should consider the procedure. Many patients report improved visual acuity over the next few months after the rehabilitation process.
80 percent of the entire population who has had the surgery consider having better vision.
Living Your Full Life with Bionic Eye Tech
It is without debate that bionic eye tech offers a lot of advantages. The procedure helps people living with blindness to see. That alone makes it a very worthwhile decision to undergo such a procedure.
However, it is the effect of the procedure that makes the bionic eye tech truly advantageous. People can detect if the lights are turned on and off, they can describe the motion of an object and even be able to count objects.
Some may not be able to appreciate these small things but to people who have lost their sight, it is very much worth it.
Having the ability to recognize faces or even read fine prints, as well as to detect obstacles, help people live their life to the fullest.
More Room for Improvements
Having bionic eye tech requires a lot of money and patience. Something that many people do not have these days. The expenses can be quite burdensome for a lot of people and such technology cannot be accessed easily by many individuals.
You’ll have to submit yourself to a lot of tests and this can take a lot of time. The rehabilitation process can also be very long and requires a lot of dedication.
Apart from that, the technology is still in its infancy stage and still has a lot of room for both errors and opportunities for improvement. I suggest it is much better to wait for the right time when the tech can be fully accessible for everyone.
The goal in developing bionic eye tech has always been to help blind people live their lives to the fullest. With the advent of technology, it is only a matter of time before we can finally give them the best. I hope that people who have been living in this condition be able to experience what life has to offer.