‘I’ve dreamed in colour for the first time in 20 years’: Blind British man can see again after first successful implant of ‘bionic’ eye microchips
- Microchips restore sight to people suffering retinitis pigmentosa – an incurable condition that leads to blindness
- Condition affects one in every 3,000-4,000 people
Clinical trial with two sufferers ‘exceeds expectations’
- Sufferers able to detect outlines of objects ‘within days’
- Vision expected to improve further as 3mm chip ‘beds in’
It was the ‘magic moment’ that released Chris James from ten years of blindness.
Doctors switched on a microchip that had been inserted into the back of his eye three weeks earlier.
After a decade of darkness, there was a sudden explosion of bright light – like a flash bulb going off, he says.
Now he is able to make out shapes and light. He hopes his sight – and the way his brain interprets what the microchip is showing it – will carry on improving.
Mr James, 54, is one of two British men who have had their vision partly restored by a pioneering retina implant.
The other, Robin Millar, one of Britain’s most successful music producers, says he has dreamed in colour for the first time.
Both had lost their vision because of a condition known as retinitis pigmentosa, where the photoreceptor cells at the back of the eye gradually cease to work.
Their stories bring hope to the 20,000 Britons with RP – and to those with other eye conditions such as advanced macular degeneration which affects up to half a million.
Mr James had a ten-hour operation to insert the wafer-thin microchip in the back of his left eye at the Oxford University Eye Hospital six weeks ago. Three weeks later, it was turned on.
Mr James, who lives in Wroughton, Wiltshire, with his wife Janet, said of his ‘magic moment’: ‘I did not know what to expect but I got a flash in the eye, it was like someone taking a photo with a flashbulb and I knew my optic nerve was still working.’
Robin Millar from London, one of two men to undergo cutting edge bionic eye treatment