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Moorfields eye hospital
Photograph: Gordon Bell / Shutterstock.com

Moorfields Eye Hospital has done the UK’s first bionic eye transplant

A woman from Dagenham has had her sight restored

Written by
Alice Saville
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Well, here’s some futuristic news to brighten a grey day: Moorfields Eye Hospital has restored a Londoner’s vision using groundbreaking new bionic technology. The unidentified 88-year-old Dagenham woman has described her joy at the surgery, which has restored vision to her blind left eye, enabling her to get back to her favourite hobbies of gardening, bowls and watercolour painting.

‘I am thrilled to be the first to have this implant, excited at the prospect of enjoying my hobbies again, and I truly hope that many others will benefit from this too’, said the woman in a statement released by the hospital. And it looks like plenty more people do indeed stand to benefit from the surgery, as this Europe-wide clinical trial continues, backed by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.

But how does it work? Well, surgeons implanted a 2mm-wide microchip behind the woman’s blind left eye, then equipped her with special video glasses that capture the scene in front of her and relay that information to the chip, and then to her brain, replicating normal vision. It’s an ingenious solution to the problem of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common cause of vision loss across the world. This operation’s success will collect vital evidence that’ll enable more people to have their sight restored by top London surgeons in years to come. 

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